In the US, we take labor unions for granted. To many, it seems like they have always been around.
But in 1980, labor unions in countries under the grip of the Soviet Union we’re totally hostile to labor unions. That’s why it made huge news 40 years ago this week, when workers in the Gdansk shipyards of Poland formed a labor union called solidarity.
With the implicit blessing of the communist government.
And Solidarity was not limited to shipyard workers. Teachers and other educators also wanted in on the movement, and that’s where Kazimierz Wierzbicki comes in. He was one of the early organizers of those educators.
I met him in early 1982, some weeks after the government Pride meekly to crack down on solidarity.
Now, a note: my tape archive can be sometimes maddeningly incomplete. What you’re about to hear is not my full interview, but a shortened, edited version that ran on the air in 1982. Somehow, I have lost the original, unedited interview. That’s why this episode is a little shorter than usual.
But here now, from 1982, Kazimierz Wierzbicki.