Friday, December 4, 2009

Bookbag: Lane Kirkland: Champion of American Labor by Arch Puddington

The scene: a meeting between Murray Weidenbaum, budget advisor to Reagan, and several labor leaders, including Frank Fitzsimmons of the Teamsters:
Then Weidenbaum twitted the trade unionists by asking if there were items in the budget that they would propose for spending reductions. Kirkland and Fraser had nothing special to offer, but the usually inarticulate Fitzsimmons had an immediate animated response. As Fraser recalled it, Fitzsimmons, his voice rising with genuine anger, blurted out, "I'll tell you one reduction you can make. You can get rid of the witness protection program. You're wasting millions of taxpayer dollars to support these stool pigeons and their families." Fraser later asked Kirkland what he was doing during the Teamster's diatribe. "I was looking at the floor," Kirkland said. To which Fraser replied, "I was looking at the ceiling."

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