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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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43. A GRATEFUL WORKER

WHEN JOEL GODDARD WAS first hired at the nonunion machine shop in early 1981, after nearly twenty-six months out of work, he felt lucky. He was making an acceptable salary while the rest of industrial Michigan was on its knees. He lavishly praised his new boss to some of his fellow workers. “Listen, Joel,” one of them said, “I know you’re glad to get the work, but ease up—you’ll learn soon enough this guy is far from perfect.” Soon Goddard was torn between gratitude to be working again and resentment of the way he was treated.

For the first time in his life he was working without union protection, something he had taken for granted when he worked at Ford. It was not the money; it was the atmosphere of the plant that bothered ...

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