State of Transition #3; Colleen Shearer, Max Spain
Major funding for this program was provided by friends of Iowa Public Television. Once majored by the strength and gender of the army the composition of Iowa's labor force has changed. Iowa women are entering the job market at an unprecedented rate. But their entry is but a single trend amid a society that is in full shift from a traditional industrial economy to one based on information and services. The shift is so dramatic that the Labor Department predicts that by 1995 twenty eight and a half million Americans will be employed in the services while only 22 million will work in manufacturing. And while many high paying
industrial jobs will become extinct. Other less lucrative occupations will be in greater demand in ten years the state will need 47 percent more nurses. 37 percent more secretaries and 60 percent more fast food workers. All are occupations not known for the heft of their take home pay. The specter of minimal wages hovers ominously on the horizon. Is the economy that nurtures the Iowa lifestyle about to be suspended in a state of transition. Good evening I'm Gene Borg. The workforce of Iowa is changing its type and its number while unemployment in the state is dropping to five point nine percent in June. There are still twenty four thousand one hundred fewer Iowans on the job today than there were a year ago. And among many of the state's eighty two thousand unemployed the chance for recall is slim. Forty one thousand of them indicated the Iowa jobs Service officials that they have little or no hope of returning to the jobs
they once had. What emerges from those numbers are pictures of workers in a state of transition. Two of them are profiled by Nancy crowfoot and this report. Two weeks short of 11 years and about whatever had to be done. Anything from set up maintenance inspection. Anything can be done I do. They say lose this cheap little radio show. So the mood in which I was laid off. Last September 30 to 34 year old canned Mads is an Iowa statistic one of the state's 80000 plus unemployed supporting himself and his unemployed wife with jobless benefits and the money he earns from occasional sub contracting and by selling his home made furniture and stained glass pictures as a punch press operator in southeast Iowa that says his future is bleak. No factories are hiring and although job service of Iowa estimates the number of Punch press operators will
increase 15 and a half percent by 1985 there $7 an hour wages won't stretch very far. That's why mats is going through retraining for a different line of work retraining by going back to college twice a week he drives 60 miles from his home in rural Brighton to a tom want to take what he calls a refresher course in math at Indian Hills college. Is described as 3.2 at 105 degrees and in the fall he hopes to qualify for Student Aid to start a two year program in electronics electronics field. It was all the spots open right now what those jobs he is training himself for the new future for an employment picture painted with microchips diodes and populated by a growing number of women.
One of the women could be a 38 year old Carol Saul a computer operator at the downtown Des Moines YMCA. Hers is a so-called pink collar jobs the kind on which many women depend to survive. It pays generally according to job service of Iowa between 13000 and $15000 a year. When you're a single parent raising a 12 year old daughter on that salary the ends barely meet even with child support. That's why a year ago she moved in with her parents. You know my salary is coming along compared with. Started his collapse but. I'm just not going anywhere. Grocery sick could only afford to buy groceries once a month. And it just. Did. In the. Older your children get realized. It works since you. Don't. Like many single parents. Saul wants to be independent to climb out of the pink collar ghetto to a job with higher pay and the
possibility for advancement. Very soon. For the test. Like most Iowans she searches for a place to grow which is why she just this year took out a student loan and started a college computer programming course. It will take more than initiative to reach her goal. It will take five years of part time study while she continues her full time job. So it. Is going to be a long haul but. I think it will be worth it. You know I do the right thing. Indeed a starting salary for a computer programmer right now is around twenty three thousand dollars an increase that makes the study worth the time. At the first of the year workers in Iowa with service related industries earn just under $6 an hour at work just over 30 hours per week according to the Iowa Development Commission manufacturing employees are nearly $4 an hour more than service workers and work a week that average nearly 40 hours.
Clearly any shift from manufacturing to service related industries will take a toll on the purchasing power of the state's workforce on the lifestyles of the workers themselves and on the role and function of the unions that represent them. The strength of Iowa's labor unions has historically been found in the state's major factories. Among tractor makers machinists meat cutters or rubber workers. When times were good in those industries times were good for the unions. But times have changed and because of that as Sid Sprecher explains many labor analysts believe that Iowa's unions will have to change too. Nine. Ten. Eleven. While. 13. 14 this is not a typical work day for United Auto Workers organizer Dave Neal. Today Dave Neal will find out if he succeeded in organizing employees at a nursing home in Strawberry Point. 21. 22 23.
Next a professional management consultant Robert Olson. His job. The picture tells you one. By one recount. Damia lost thirty nine to 33 the loss was not an aberration. According to the National Labor Relations Board the number of organizing elections in the state has been cut nearly in half in the last three years from 65 in 1981 to 35 last year. A dramatic drop for Iowa the second most unionized right to work state in the country. Tough times it seems it's often unions. There is no question that labor unions are facing serious problems in this day and age primarily due to the economy. Labor organizations primarily grow with the economy. There's a direct correlation between the economy and the growth of labor
unions in fact the highest unionization period in our nation's history occurred during World War Two during when the country was really geared up for the war effort. Currently with the economy in a recession or coming out of recession you know growth has been slowed and has somewhat decreased based upon our case and take here in the state of Iowa. In other words unemployment makes the people who have jobs afraid of unions because they don't want to lose them. An odd commentary on union activities that are designed in many cases to protect jobs. What went wrong. Union organizers like Mark Smith with the AFL CIO look past themselves and place the blame on the president when he took on the air traffic controllers. The concessions came and started to come. When Ronald Reagan. Attacked back oh. Put the full force of the federal government up against a little weak International Union and crossed that International Union at the same time. In effect told every employer in this country to out to go after the labor movement.
Smith's comments are true to his Democratic allegiances. But labor slippage in Iowa started before Ronald Reagan was elected so that slippage can be seen clearly in one of the most basic of all our industries. The meat packing plants I was second largest employer. This situation in meat packing is volatile and emotional. In this industry at these plants concessions. Strikes. And court battles are the norm rather than the exception. According to Louie Anderson head of the packing house division of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The pain is felt by the unions parallel a structural change in the industry itself. I guess we have to understand that the meat packing industry is going through some traumatic changes and some substantial structural changes. The concentration of production is going into the hands of fewer but larger operators. That requires less workers. There's more efficient plants around and will never see the level of the employment that was seen at one time in the meat packing industry because of those factors.
That means fewer jobs in places like Esther ville or any other town that relied on meat packing workers for its payroll. The structural changes in the meat business were shuttle changes in other areas of manufacturing at the heart of New American industry. Robots robots implement industries all rubber mills that will eliminate jobs forever. Even the jobs of Iowa workers who are the most productive in the country. This basic structural changes provoke corresponding changes in the focus of labor organizations themselves. It is seen in the seeming congruity of the United Auto Workers Union trying to organize a nursing home in Strawberry Point. For these workers at a Holiday Inn in Des Moines who are meeting with the green Millers Union about organizing. However important the growth of union organizing efforts into nontraditional areas is secondary compared with what is currently the most dominant concern of the labor movement. Retraining displaced workers. A number of locals have come to us and ask us how they might be able to find a
program that will provide either retraining are upgrading for their members. These representatives of the Building Trades Union are going to school learning the realities of helping their members find work and public assistance in a harsh job environment. Ironically Labor's arch enemy Ronald Reagan has more than doubled the federal dollars coming to Iowa for the purpose of retraining. However based on federal government projections combined state and federal money will help retrain only fifteen hundred unemployed which is only a drop in the bucket. Balanced against the sixty one thousand Iowa jobless classified as dislocated or long term unemployed. That is why Mark Smith maintains the emphasis on retraining must work in tandem with the problem of not enough jobs. I don't I don't need retraining I need a job. That's a key issue. And there's kind of a myth out there I think that says automatically anybody that lost their job. Must have lost their job because they needed training. I don't think that's true.
But the job market is changing and that may cause unions and their workers to rethink some of their earlier goals. In light of the influx of women into the labor force technological changes in the industry and the rapid and shifting demands of a global marketplace the old concept of full employment may change. The labor force of the future will surely need to be more skilled and it will be more flexible. Shifting from job to job continuously retraining adapting to meet the demands of a world market in motion. That means that labor unions too must adapt a challenge that may be their greatest test yet. Well the labor unions have been alive in this country in the world for a long time and there's been a lot of different economic situations that have existed within this country and I foresee no problems in union surviving in the future. They're going to have to adapt to the changing times and that's the name of the game. Uncharted waters are always difficult to navigate and that's why change is so difficult to
plan for. For some direction we turn tonight to call the director for an analysis of future employment opportunities in Iowa. And Max Payne a member of the Communication Workers of America's Committee on the future plan for changes in the nation's working environment. Your title jobs are that big. How do you see the composition of the Iowa Workforce. Five to ten years from now. My feelings are based on. Trends about which I've read as well as on the statistics that we produce for this particular state. Yes for this particular state. Of course everyone seems to understand by now. That manufacturing will change dramatically because of robotics because
computers. Will be manufacturing in Ohio. There will always be manufacturing it will be perhaps of a different type. We certainly see clerical workers and the service areas increasing greatly. And I guess again I guess that's no surprise to people. I guess I'd rather talk in terms of what people must do for themselves. Yes that's the next thing because I don't care how many agencies there might be out there or how many labor unions who want to help their people. People really in the end have to help themselves. How can they do that. That's what they're working on except change except the fact that it will be a different world is in the same way that this country changed from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy it's now changing from an industrial economy to an information era. And it doesn't happen overnight. They don't really have to fear it but they need to adapt to it. And I have seen so
many people. This is a small segment of of yours what you're defining but I've seen so many people. Remain in a state of shock from being laid off from a job that probably won't exist again that they've not. Taken any steps to help themselves because the unemployment benefits are there. But they need that time while they're drawing the unemployment to begin to prepare themselves rather than waiting until the benefits have run out. What do that worries me do with that. Certainly education is one of them. Retraining is another way you've heard it stated. I think a large part of what lies ahead for is the solutions rest with the education community in the state of Iowa. What are you doing to adapt to the change that clearly ensures your members must. And adapting. It means to us that we must go with the flow of the economy
the flow of the nation. What is happening to the jobs. Where are they going. That's another big thing that's taking place is there following some of those jobs. Not nearly enough. But if we do that too then yours person in other parts of the country. What we did was. Form a committee. We found many many things and it took us a great deal of time in the first place to even come close to acknowledging that we need change. So you found then what you were looking for what unions need to do to serve their members in the next five to 10 years is that it. We think that we have a pattern and a goal and an objective to go what what are those things. Primarily it is to convince our membership that there is going to be a change. Another thing is that the employers. Have a sense that we can do something good for them and and vice versa. We don't have the adversary
condition or we're never going to change the adversary at all. But we will the degree and the degree of adversary will always have something that we do not agree to in a contract in a philosophical aspect whatever it may be. How much of a factor do you think Coleen labor unions are going to be in the future right now. They're being blamed in public opinion for some of the economic woes that the nation is in right now I think concentrating too greedy in other words. Do you think that unions in the future are going to be a factor. I think it depends entirely on whether or not the unions can adjust to adjust as the industry is going to have to adjust. Industry is becoming international and I think the unions will have to go where industry goes and will have to become more international. You know in the past for hundred some years unions have reacted to everything. And he's seen a come along we react to it. We say we've got to act now instead of react. Let's be our own judge of our
destiny. And that's what we're going to try to do in that aspect very obvious we're going to be moving into the information and moving of information right now. We're into that and more so into service in our service saying don't means it does not mean to me anyway. A cocktail waitress or a waitress or whatever servicing means to me that you're servicing that piece of equipment that you get that you sold or that you're servicing a community on a certain aspect of what you've sold to them or passed on to them doesn't mean a menial thing at all. I wondered insofar as what kinds of jobs will be out there tomorrow for Iowans. If we someone could possibly devise. A scientifically sound survey we've got the names and addresses of all the employers in the States and send them a survey form just to ask them the simple question What is your company going to be like in five years how computerised will it be what kinds
of jobs. And then compile all those answers we know from the people whose livelihood depends on it. And perhaps that would be a good place to start. Isn't that something the job should know. We communicate with the employers regularly Unfortunately right now it's to tax them more than anything else. But the asking those kinds of questions is not something we're really geared up to do. I think it would need to be perhaps somebody from the universities who decided what kinds of questions What's a scientifically sound questionnaire. We certainly could implement it and compile it and on the subject of workforce we're going to have a workforce shortage by the end of this decade in the state as a matter of fact not so long ago I read some article. That the more women who enter the workforce in increases the need for more women to enter because a simple illustration they will cook less at home and rely more on on eating out and so that invites more and more women to come into the workforce so I
don't think their days of pessimism had the days of optimism that raises a question that was raised in one of your presentation to this program and that was called the. Possibility of a pink collar ghetto. How do you react to that. Well what I mentioned earlier about the fact that there's we're facing a workforce shortage by virtue of the fact that the baby boom people have already entered the workforce and you can count the numbers have been born and we're entering an era where the baby bust people will be coming in we will have a workforce shortage which will tend to elevate salaries for union was becoming increasingly feminine. You know. As a matter of fact our you know 53 percent female. We are doing everything we can as a matter of fact to encourage women to get involved. Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on women. Here this past month and I think it depicted four women who were in the mail so to speak
normal jobs and doing right well I think that the women have come a tremendously long way and I think they're going to even increase that and particularly the political angle or the representation part of it. I really believe that they're going to stand up tonight. Thank you Callie insurer and Max Payne for being with us tonight discussing Iowa's labor force and its future. It would be a mistake to assume for a moment that the focus of the future should be directed only at the state's workforce or at the education is needed to retrain that workforce our vision should also focus on the needs of those who help train us the state's elderly many of whom live out their golden years in silence and in fear. As Lynda Wright explains their lives today are our future. Well I you know we obviously have the experience of. Having a certain kind of curiosity about the past. You know we collect antiques. You know they become very precious and very scarce. And
someone ironic I guess the. People themself wouldn't be human antiques in the sense that we like them around them and they're interesting they have lines in their face and and. Patterns in their memory that none of us have. And that you know that is a very important commodity. The memories etched in the lives and faces of senior citizens provide us with our roots a perspective from a generation that has witnessed drastic economic and societal transformations. But the transition from horse and buggy to the space shuttle may seem tame compared to the implications of the computer age. For a while senior citizens have benefited from current modern technology it has expanded their lifespans an average of twenty six years. Those extra years are not always considered a blessing. Sometimes old folks spend out their waning years suffering in solitude. A predicament could be made worse by the dawning of the new world of high tech
high technology to me translates into a workless world that certainly makes elderly people superfluous. That's scary because society has to come to some kind of the arrangement where it needs its own people. My view of the future is one in which the major responsibility of an economy. Is to give people. An opportunity for income. And for a sense of worth. Through work. That should be the first order of any economy. I think that needs to be thought through. And I think it needs to be thought through not only by simply planners or providers but I really think there's the philosophical component. We need educators and spiritual leaders and elderly themselves in just kind of looking through what should. The definition of growing older be in a state like Iowa so the need for a long term care plan is critical if nothing else. Economics will demand that. In 1982 the state spent nearly
69 million dollars for elderly services. With Social Security in dire straits. Medical and nursing home costs skyrocketing. And with the number of senior citizens growing faster than any other sector in society. I was Treasury is sure to feel a strain of measures for housing health care and income maintenance are not explored. One such experiment called the project is being conducted in Davenport. Its goal is to help disabled seniors determine the best place to live. If their homes are found to be appropriate then the project staff members help their clients. Services like Meals on Wheels. Not only do in-home services cost less than nursing home care but for many being able to remain in a familiar environment has meant the difference between dependency and she offered homemaker help and things like that which was a godsend to me as long as I
can see something for her to stay here. Staying at home has also helped keep her spirits high with hopes for the future. The wonderful is presently delivering services are working on a plan for elderly care. Many senior advocates hope that that will be the beginning of a coordinated comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of the elderly. I also hope it will help the state plan for the enormous shift in demographics that will come with the future that will actually happen. The reason I'm not optimistic about it is number one you know we tend to focus on. Society which. The majority of people in the dominant economic. Focus obviously is not the
young adults anymore but the middle aged adult and the baby boomers. Policy tends to be directed towards them. Perhaps in the next 20 to 30 years when the baby boomers grow older. Continuing their dominance in society policy will focus towards their needs. By then though it could be too late since many of the support systems necessary to make the golden years comfortable will not be in place. And because I was financial resources will have shrunk because of the eroding senior tax base. Put simply the demands of the baby boomers could explode like an aging bomb drastically altering the social fabric of the state. But the state itself cannot do everything. Today's adults must also be responsible for the challenges of the coming decades. It is a responsibility that may be hard for them to meet. We were. Shaping. The. Story of the week. So. Now change. Like the younger
ones and everything. As soon as we get it sometime before they get I don't know. What is certain. Is that the future for the next generation of senior citizens holds challenges challenges that will require a great deal of insight and commitment to meet the unique demands of a growing population. But no matter how carefully plans are laid the challenges will never be met and last and essential ingredient is included in the planning. People need a lot of love if they would just school and put their arms around them and give them a hug and then pass them and be kind to them. To them that means everything. It's worth every bit on their own with younger people would write to you that you'd be surprised but pressured. Yeah. That's a. Big big thing for. Loneliness. Tomorrow night a look at the private side of the
Iowa economy. How to put nor's and venture capital can be put to work to help Iowa through which state of transition. Until then I'm Dean Borg. Thanks for joining us tonight. Good evening. Major funding for a state of transition was provided by
- State of Transition #3
- Colleen Shearer, Max Spain
- Contributing Organization
- Iowa Public Television (Johnston, Iowa)
- The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Special 1-week look at political changes with a new governor
- Other Description
- """In 1983, the state of Iowa was in the throes of a profound economic change that threatened to alter its character. ""The recession in agriculture was felt from its farms to its cities; factories and foundries were moving away; and State Officials were questioning the truth of Iowa's [motto] as 'a place to grow.' This was the backdrop for Iowa Public Television's special five-part series examining Iowa's economy, its workforce, and its future.""--1983 Peabody Awards entry form. This episode focuses on the hardships in the workforce of Iowa faced by women, senior citizens and those who are structurally unemployed. This part of the series discusses challenges caused by changes in workplaces due to increased use of technology. Reporter Nancy Crowfoot profiles unemployed man Ken Metz and single parent Carol Saul. Sid Sprecher reports on efforts to establish unions in various workplaces in Iowa. Host Dean Borg moderates a discussion between Colleen Shearer, director of Job Service in Iowa, and Max Spain, member of Communication Workers of America's Committee on the Future, on labor unions in Iowa. Reporter Linda Wright follows trainers and explores education's role in the workforce and how that may be a struggle for senior citizens. "
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- Media type
- Moving Image
Director: Zahari, Carl
Executive Producer: Miller, Daniel
Host: Borg, Dean
Writer: Miller, Daniel
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Iowa Public Television
Identifier: 41-E-27 (Old Tape Number)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the
University of Georgia
Identifier: 83100dct-3-arch (Peabody Object Identifier)
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- Chicago: “State of Transition #3; Colleen Shearer, Max Spain,” 1983-08-03, Iowa Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-37-69m37zpd.
- MLA: “State of Transition #3; Colleen Shearer, Max Spain.” 1983-08-03. Iowa Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-37-69m37zpd>.
- APA: State of Transition #3; Colleen Shearer, Max Spain. Boston, MA: Iowa Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-37-69m37zpd