-Narrator: Paula was an American auto worker. Born and breed in the great state of Wisconsin, right out of high school she had gotten a job at the AMC auto factory in Kenosha. She worked hard, earning every dollar of his paycheck. And as time went on, she was able to build a decent life for herself. She had a loving family, and a decent house with two cars in the drive way. But then the American Motors Corp. went under, and the plant got shut down. Suddenly it seemed life everyone Paula knew was unemployed. Her husband was still working, but didn't he make enough to support the whole family. So, with the tenacity of a bulldog, Paula hit the pavement, and after several months of collecting unemployment and applying at literally dozens of jobs, she finally got hired on at the Abbott Laboratories as a janitor. The pay was only a 1/3 of what she had gotten at American Motors, but it was job, and she was glad to have it.
-Socks & Song: after narrator is done reading, sock puppets ad lib scene while the song "Blue Collar Man" by
Styx plays in the background.
Sock puppet characters in this scene: Paula, husband & kids.
Pedro was a hard working maize farmer in the
down in old Mexicali Valley .
His family had worked that plot of land since the land reforms of the
1930s. But then came NAFTA - the North
American Free Trade Agreement - and everything changed. Thousands of Mexican farm families lost their
land when subsidized American corn flooded the market, and drove the price way
down. Pedro held on as long as he could,
but eventually he had to sell his land.
After spending a whole year successfully looking for work, he headed
north, and crossed the border. He worked
a whole string of dead end jobs until he finally landed in Mexico , where he was able to get a janitor
job at a pharmaceutical company. Wisconsin
-Socks & Song: after narrator is done reading, sock puppets ad lib scene while the song "Life in a
" by The Northern Town plays in the background. Sock puppet characters in this scene: Pedro,
wife & kids. Dream Academy
Paula was not a happy camper when she first met Pedro. While originally most of the janitors at Abbots Laboratories were former AMC auto workers that she had known her whole life, suddenly the company started filling all of the vacancies with immigrant workers. Paula and a lot of her co-workers gave the immigrants the cold shoulder, and grumbled about how the dirty Mexicans were coming up and stealing all the jobs. "Why couldn't you stay down there in
?", she spat at Pedro
once. Pedro and the other immigrant
workers, reacted by keeping to themselves, and grumbling about how arrogant and
lazy the American workers were. All of
this was a dream come true for the managers at Abbots. At first they stopped giving out annual
raises, but eventually they even cut wages, and then they cancelled the
workers' health and dental benefits.
When Paula and her friends complained about this, the managers told them
that if they didn't like it, they could quit because there were plenty of
Mexicans who were more than willing to work their jobs. And when Pedro and his friends complained,
the managers told them that if they didn't like it they could go back to Mexico , because there were plenty of laid
off American industrial workers just as desperate for work. Paula blamed Pedro, Pedro blamed Paula, and life
got harder and harder for all of the workers because of it. Mexico
-Socks & Song: after narrator is done reading, sock puppets ad lib scene while the song "King Nothing" by Metallica plays in the background. Sock puppet characters in this scene: Paula, Pedro, Evil Manager & co-workers.
With wages cut, and no benefits for themselves or their families, everyone started to feel the pinch. Wages were going down, but the prices at the grocery store sure weren't! Not to mention gas at the pump, rent and property taxes. One day in the break room, things got ugly between Paula and Pedro. It's hard to say who started it, but before you know insults and juice boxes were flying everywhere. Workers lined up and started taking sides, until suddenly, one worker, Beasley got up on top of the table and yelled at everyone. "Stop it all of you! Can't you see what's happening here? The Man is pitting us against each other! He's putting the screws on us, but instead of standing up and fighting back, we're turning on each other. It doesn't matter if you're originally form
or the Mexico Midwest - we're all trying to do the same
thing, to pay our bills and support our families!" This got everyone talking, and before you
know it even Paula and Pedro shook hands and made up. By the time break was over the workers had agreed
to meet after shift to discuss what to do about the wage cuts.
-Socks & Song: after narrator is done reading, sock puppets ad lib scene while the song "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister plays in the background. Sock puppet characters in this scene: Paula, Pedro, Beasley & co-workers.
At their meeting after work, Beasley suggested the workers join a union and demand that the company rescind the wage cuts. Paula and Pedro both enthusiastically agreed, and were elected by their co-workers to head up a delegation of workers that marched into the Man's office the next day with their demands. Initially management refused to budge, and they tried to start a whispering campaign about Paula saying nasty things about Pedro, and vice versa. This time it didn't work though, and after a militant strike the workers were able to force Abbots Laboratories to recognize the union and give the workers a fair wage and benefits package. And man, you should have seen how Paula & Pedro got along on those pickets lines. Instead of shouting insults at each other, they shouted "Brown & white, unite & fight!" and "The Workers United, Can Never Be Defeated!". Oh how things had changed for Paula and Pedro. Yes sir, things had changed for all the workers, and the change was definitely for the better!
-Socks & Song: after narrator is done reading, sock puppets ad lib scene while the song "Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul plays in the background. Sock puppet characters in this scene: Paula, Pedro, Beasley, Evil Manager and co-workers.