Joy Bivins
Joy Bivins
Chicago History Museum

Who should protect workers in hard times?


If you watch or listen to the news, you know that American workers are experiencing tough times. During the past few years, poor economic conditions have meant that many workers have lost jobs, taken pay cuts, or been asked to work less. Job security, for many, is a thing of the past.

During another tough time in the nation’s past, the Great Depression, the government instituted programs that created jobs for out-of-work Americans. New Deal programs eased the pain of some during the 1930s but not everyone agreed that this was the government’s place. Similar issues exist today which made me want to ask: who do you think should protect workers in hard times?

I know this is a tough question, especially if you haven’t had your first job yet. I am curious to hear what you think and can’t wait to read your responses.


Discussion closed on November 29, 2011

Closing Statement

The question of who protects workers during difficult economic times isn’t easy to answer. In her reply, Amanda B. highlighted some of the very tough realities that face workers but also businesses that are trying to sustain themselves. In addressing both workers and business, she thoughtfully considered multiple sides of the issue.

As I mentioned, there have been moments, like the Great Depression, when government stepped in to address the needs of workers and business alike. Likewise, workers through associations, trade unions, and other organizations have created ways to protect themselves in hard times. Throughout the nation’s history, and even today, this continues to be a complicated issue. Like our student respondent showed, sensitivity to all sides of the issue and multiple solutions are necessary.


amanda B, 8th

November 08, 2011 - 09:34am

Workers should be protected in hard times because most workers have familys to feed. I also think about the workers who have a payments on their house or all the utilities they have to play. I say instead of firing the workers we could just cut their hours that way they still have a job but the company they are working for doesnt have so much money going out the the workers.