When Lewis appeared at the Illinois Labor History Society’s “Salute to Labor’s Historic Heroes from the History Makers of Today,” she didn’t disappoint the crowd. She threw gasoline onto the fire of class warfare, and even mentioned mob killings of wealthy Americans.
“… Do not think for a minute that the wealthy are ever going to allow you to legislate their riches away from them. Please understand that. However, we are in a moment where the wealth disparity in this country is very reminiscent of the robber baron ages. The labor leaders of that time, though, were ready to kill. They were. They were just – off with their heads. They were seriously talking about that.”
Some in the audience laughed and clapped at her remark.
“I don’t think we’re at that point,” Lewis laughingly replied, without specifying when “that point” might arrive. “And that’s scary to most people. But the key is they think nothing of killing us. They think nothing of putting our people in harm’s way. They think nothing of lethal working conditions.”
She then used schools without air conditioning as an example of “lethal working conditions.”
The true labor leaders of the “robber baron” age would probably roll over in their graves and remind Ms. Lewis that she and her colleagues have it quite good.
Big salaries with an average income in the $70,000 range. Generous benefits and pensions. Limited work days and nine-month work years. What are these people complaining about?