Andrew Hedden, Associate Director at the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, recently had a conversation with KUOW's Libby Denkmann about how current tech layoffs, including those at Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, and Google are being compared to layoffs of the past, specifically the 'Boeing Bust' of the 1970s.
Hedden, who specializes in Seattle-area labor history - specifically the 1960s - 1980s - was able to provide context to the misconceptions around the bust, specifically that private enterprise or businesses rescued Seattle from it's dire economic situation. In reality, government-driven federal investments routed to Seattle and grassroots organizing that led to, among other things, the food bank system in the city played a major role.
Hedden also speaks about the need for layoff protections to expand beyond the workers at the companies doing the laying off:
“The real lesson of the Boeing Bust...is the need to protect not just those who are at these companies that are being laid off, but to protect all of those who are in the secondary industries - the service economy - whose jobs really depend on having the bigger companies in the city,” said Andrew Hedden.