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Designing Women S3 E7 - The Evil Money-sucking, Cash-whoring, Decorator Monster

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

In an unexpected twist, LBT “Schoolhouse Rocks” audiences in 1989 about fair labor practices. Meanwhile, in a tale as old as time, Mary Jo gets ripped off by a body shop. And poor Anthony misses the turn at “the Big Chicken” (if you know, you know).

Stick around for this week’s "Extra Sugar", where we take a look at workers’ rights in the U.S. and the South. You know, keepin’ it light.

Dig deeper with these reads:

More on some in-show references:

Come on, let’s get into it!



Salina: Hey, Nikki.

Nikki: Hey, Salina.

Salina: And welcome to Sweet Tea and TV.

Salina: Hey, y'all.

Salina: This don't worry, I'll play both parts.

Salina: Salina.

Salina: That was dumb.

Salina: All right, moving on.

Nikki: You're keeping up my end of the bargain.

Nikki: Thank you.

Salina: I actually have a housekeeping thing before we get started.

Nikki: Housekeeping?

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I don't know if you remember this or not, but last episode we talked about who would we pick to appear on a banknote, like, if we got I remember.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: And I made an offhand comment about being surprised that Eisenhower was on the dime.

Salina: Here's.

Salina: Why?

Salina: I was nervous.

Salina: I started thinking about it, and I was like, I think I said the wrong legacy for him.

Salina: I said something about him, like, being the reason for the highway system.

Nikki: Oh, okay.

Salina: So I went and I fact checked myself.

Nikki: Oh, thank God.

Salina: I have great news.

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: I was right.

Nikki: I knew you were right.

Salina: I thought maybe I had gotten it confused with, like, a Truman legacy.

Salina: So this is the new President's podcast, in case you were wondering.

Salina: But anyways, I was right.

Salina: That's the important part.

Salina: So that's the important part.

Salina: That's what's important.

Salina: Well, hold on.

Salina: We're getting there.

Salina: We're getting there.

Salina: So I wound up running across a couple of interesting things that I either didn't know at all or I kind of forgotten about.

Salina: But one is, like, this is a cool guy.

Salina: He's a cool guy.

Salina: I hear myself.

Salina: I had days and confused in my head.

Salina: It's not important.

Salina: Okay, so he sponsored and signed the Civil Rights Bill of 1957.

Salina: He balanced the budget not once, not twice, but three times.

Salina: That's impressive.

Salina: We don't really get that happening a lot anymore.

Salina: I'm just saying it's important.

Salina: He ended the Korean War, and he kept America at peace.

Salina: So suddenly, I'm, like, sitting there.

Salina: I'm, like, looking at all of this, and I'm like, on the dollar.

Salina: Well, I was like, he should be on the quarter.

Salina: And then, well, something went wrong.

Salina: I did get something wrong.

Salina: He's not on the dime at all.

Nikki: He's on the silver dollar.

Salina: I don't even half dollar, like some special coin that doesn't exist anymore.

Salina: It's FDR that's on the dime.

Salina: So I got my old white men confused.

Nikki: Sure.

Salina: Got it.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: They all look the same when they're on silver.

Nikki: It's true.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: It's hard to tell the difference.

Salina: So I just felt like I needed to come back because someone out there knows who's on a dime.

Nikki: I'm hoping a few people know, just not us.

Salina: It's hard to say.

Salina: I was like, it wasn't you, and it wasn't me.

Nikki: I'm not a coin collector.

Salina: I could have put anybody on the dime.

Nikki: And you probably would have been like, yes, except Lincoln.

Nikki: I know Lincoln.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: Anyway, so I just felt like and.

Nikki: I know George Washington.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: See?

Salina: A lot of dollars.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Wait.

Nikki: Weird.

Salina: Is it?

Nikki: I don't know.

Salina: I used to wait tables.

Nikki: I feel weird.

Salina: So it all connects, though.

Salina: And here's why.

Salina: Banknotes are currency.

Salina: What is currency, really?

Salina: Money.

Salina: And where does money come from?

Salina: Work.

Nikki: Treasury.

Salina: And what is this episode kind of about?

Salina: Workers rights.

Nikki: Oh, look at you.

Nikki: Did you just transition us?

Salina: Kind of.

Nikki: So can I go into the Hulu episode description?

Salina: Please take this away from me.

Nikki: Wow.

Nikki: Well done.

Nikki: I like it.

Nikki: So this episode is called but they're really great curtains, or IMDb says it's just curtains, so you decide.

Nikki: The Hulu episode description is the women of Sugar Bakers find themselves literally, literally in the middle of a labor dispute with angry pickets surrounding the building.

Nikki: January 2, 1989 is when it aired.

Nikki: So we're getting close to the 90.

Salina: Well, they're in style, so we need.

Nikki: The did you know the 90s were 30 years ago?

Salina: I can't talk about it.

Nikki: I know.

Nikki: We are calling this one it doesn't matter if it's curtains or well, they're but they're really great curtains.

Nikki: We're calling it the evil money sucking cash whoring decorator monster.

Salina: And that's no hate to money suckers cash horrors or monster decorators.

Nikki: That was a line in the show.

Salina: It was.

Salina: Thank you.

Nikki: Blame LBT.

Nikki: And or Pamela Norris because they co wrote this one.

Nikki: And this is the first time we've seen her writing credit for Norris.

Nikki: Salina tells me according to her IMDb, she's here to stay through the end of the show.

Nikki: Her credits include a four year stint on SNL, including an Emmy nomination, and she also co wrote the movie troop Beverly Hills.

Nikki: I, however, am not just your parrot.

Nikki: I do my own research.

Salina: Oh, perfect.

Nikki: When I researched Pamela Norris, I found out that your description didn't include her illustrious stint of three Jeopardy.

Nikki: Wins in 1985.

Nikki: She was also a co producer on Hearts of Fire and a consulting producer on Emerald.

Nikki: Also, LBT.

Nikki: Vehicles.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: They must be good friends in real life.

Salina: I'm so sorry.

Salina: I just thought you would they could troop Beverly Hills thing was the most interesting.

Salina: I was trying to tailor it to your thank you.

Nikki: I appreciate that.

Salina: I didn't know about the Jeopardy.

Salina: Thing.

Salina: I know.

Nikki: That's crazy.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Good for her.

Nikki: So it's directed by David trainer.

Nikki: General reactions.

Nikki: Give me one.

Salina: I'll give you one.

Salina: Well, okay.

Salina: All right.

Nikki: Is going to give me, like, eight.

Salina: Yeah, you know it.

Salina: So we've given LBT.

Salina: A lot of praise over the course of the show for using, like, this is a vehicle to raise important issues and certainly taking on the lack of protection for laborer.

Salina: Yeah, them is very admirable.

Salina: There's no getting around that.

Salina: And I'm guessing it was pretty rare for 1989.

Salina: I did actually try and poke around.

Salina: I didn't see anything where they really did anything significant in any shows.

Salina: I'm sure someone could prove me wrong, but I just feel like the execution for this one was a little off.

Salina: Let me tell you why.

Nikki: Tell me.

Salina: I think it's because it's hard for me to watch this episode and not think about how something would be executed today.

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: So I think today it would be handled differently.

Salina: I think we give more screen time to the workers and like Margaret, who we meet later in the episode, I think we would have given them the opportunity to tell their story.

Salina: I think we were sort of like in this version, we're sort of telling the story for them.

Salina: And I also thought the timing needed some fine tuning on this one.

Salina: I didn't not like the B plot for Mary Joe's Car situation, but I do think that that pulled from the main thrust of the episode, and especially when we're focusing on something that we're considering important.

Salina: And then another thing that could have done, if we just can't lose that, then I think we could have tightened up how long we spent just being flabbergasted by the picketing of Sugar.

Salina: We spent a lot of time living in that moment.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: So that was my very first general reaction.

Salina: It was four things, and I think.

Nikki: You touched on a few things I have throughout the episode, throughout our podcast episode.

Nikki: So my first general reaction is that this is two advocacy style episodes in a row.

Nikki: So we just had one.

Nikki: The last one we covered had those sharp points about relationships and sexual harassment with the construction workers.

Salina: Right.

Nikki: And so we talked a lot about sexual harassment.

Nikki: This one, we're going to talk about workers rights.

Nikki: So it just kind of feels like a little bit of a heavy run back to back.

Salina: Yeah, I agree with that.

Nikki: But I did want to bring up here because I'm bringing up the fact that you're mentioning it was sort of advocacy style, talking about workers rights.

Nikki: I'm saying the same thing.

Nikki: So I found that 1988 was the scene for the longest strike ever of the Writers Guild against Hollywood TV and film studios.

Nikki: It lasted 153 days, March to August.

Nikki: Notably, this meant that the fall season for shows that year.

Nikki: So fall of 1988 started later.

Nikki: In fact, that's why it was late.

Nikki: We always announced the start of the or the air dates at the beginning of each episode.

Nikki: Never occurred to me that the first episode of the season, Ursula, aired in November.

Salina: It did occur to me, but I thought they were somehow trying to tie the next episode, the Candidate, where Julia.

Nikki: Rose for office oh, that's smart.

Salina: With the election.

Nikki: Oh, that's smart.

Salina: But it was wrong.

Salina: So this is so interesting.

Nikki: Okay, so, yeah, like we were saying, previous seasons had started in September.

Nikki: I also found that there were massive worker strikes in Poland that year and as well, along or among nurses in England.

Nikki: So it's just kind of a big year for workers rights.

Nikki: And so this was very topical for.

Salina: The time that we're talking, and we know LBT.

Salina: Loves the current event.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: That's really man, that's some impressive research.

Salina: I like that.

Salina: Okay, so you explored real life, and I explored TV.

Nikki: I felt like it had to come from somewhere.

Nikki: Sure.

Salina: Because this is such a it's so specific.

Nikki: It's very niche.

Nikki: And to do it back to back with that previous episode about sexual harassment, it just felt something was going on.

Nikki: Something was circulating.

Salina: I mean, I don't want this to be condescending.

Salina: Good job.

Salina: Thank you.

Salina: I'm so scared.

Nikki: It's good.

Salina: Every time I tell somebody, good job, I'm like, do I sound like an ahole?

Salina: I appreciate because I mean, it, like, in a really nice way.

Nikki: It's a huge compliment to me that you say that.

Salina: So thank you.

Salina: You're very welcome.

Salina: Okay, so my second my second general reaction is that we get two things that I think work well in sitcoms.

Salina: So my second reaction is seven things.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: But I love a little one.

Nikki: And then sub points.

Salina: That's right.

Salina: Literally, I love a little fish out of water story.

Salina: Or a big fish out of water story.

Salina: So they find themselves, our ladies, sewing their curtains in the factory.

Salina: And it was making me think a lot about I Love Lucy.

Salina: Like, it came out of that playbook.

Salina: Have you seen the Chocolate Factory episode?

Nikki: Sure.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: We all have.

Salina: No, we haven't.

Salina: Also, if you're out there and you have not seen The Chocolate Factory, you have to it's like sitcom history.

Salina: It's literally watching royalty, like, invent funniness.

Salina: And it's important.

Salina: Right.

Salina: And, like, that episode came out at least 30 years before we were born.

Salina: And you know what we did?

Salina: We took the time.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: I mean, you just have to watch it.

Nikki: It's lucille Ball.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: That's classic TV.

Salina: But it also kind of goes back to that thing that we talk about.

Salina: Please don't use your age for an excuse not to have seen something before you were born.

Salina: Like, get it together, whatever.

Salina: It's fine.

Salina: So also, the second thing that I really thought worked well here and in sitcoms generally is, like, preconceived notions being turned on their heads.

Salina: So Mary Joe calls the picketers, quote, unquote, unskilled laborers at one point before she gets a little taste of what they do.

Salina: And then even Julia is on the wrong side of things for much of the episode.

Salina: Or at least what the episode, like, sets up is the wrong side of things.

Nikki: Right?

Salina: It is to me, too, but there might be people out there who see the other side, so I don't want to all anyone's toes, because for her, the strike means, like, a loss of business.

Salina: For Sugar Bakers, they're always on the precipice of losing the business.

Nikki: Maybe.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: But then she runs into Margaret at the factory.

Salina: She realizes they're getting paid by the pace.

Salina: Well, yes, but by the piece.

Salina: This is a Southern podcast but they're getting paid by the piece, which is illegal, which I had to look up because I don't know anything.

Nikki: I just word, so that's true.

Salina: I think it is true.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: I think I looked it up.

Salina: It was like a month ago.

Salina: I'm like, where are we?

Salina: Who am I?

Salina: Who are you?

Salina: What are you doing in my house in my closet?

Salina: Yeah, what are you doing in my closet?

Salina: Strays generals.

Nikki: I have two more generals.

Salina: So sorry.

Nikki: Along the lines of what I think you're kind of getting at there, I appreciated Charlene's first reaction to the strike, which is that people weren't going to have food, they were going to starve.

Nikki: It just felt like a really true to her character response was oddly on topic, but it was still, like, more in her wheelhouse, like the story, the connection she told to the strikers, I just liked it.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: And like, true to her, not just the character that we've met, but where she came from.

Salina: Right.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: That all felt like it fit together nicely.

Nikki: I agree.

Nikki: And then my last general reaction goes back to that b plot about women at a mechanic, and that b plot felt irrelevant for this episode.

Nikki: I feel like there was a better place for it, but I'm glad she did it because I think it's a universal female experience.

Salina: There's something that's aged.

Nikki: Exactly.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: Not a day I have been guilty of calling a male figure in my life from the mechanic so that they knew that I had someone that I was interacting with.

Nikki: So they couldn't mess me up or having to.

Salina: Fall back into that old stereotype where and I have to do this from time to time, and I don't like to do it, but just to get people off my a*** is I'll be like, oh, I'm so sorry, but I'm.

Nikki: Just going to have to run that by my husband.

Salina: And I don't want to do that, but I just sort of get the vibe for who I'm on the phone with, and I'm like, I do that.

Nikki: When I'm at the store and they're trying to sell me Internet or a new cell phone.

Nikki: I'm like, oh, gosh, my husband handles I wouldn't even know where to start.

Nikki: What's a gigabyte.

Nikki: I don't understand.

Nikki: I don't know.

Nikki: I'll ask my husband and we'll get back to you.

Salina: But, you know, the truth is, too, is it's like we're also partners.

Salina: That's what the truth of it is.

Nikki: That's the real truth.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I mean, we really do find things by each other, and I expect the same in kind, so we're not trying to be damsels in distress.

Salina: Sometimes you just need to get someone off of you.

Nikki: Well, Kyle, I am not a damsel in distress because Kyle was gone one day and he had his car and I had my car, and the backstory is I don't drive my car very often.

Nikki: I hadn't driven in in probably three months because we just drive one car now and it wouldn't start.

Nikki: And I had the kids with me, so I had to jump my car off by myself.

Nikki: Another costco find is a battery.

Nikki: That a battery jumper.

Nikki: That's electric.

Nikki: It's amazing.

Nikki: Did it myself and I hate doing that.

Nikki: It terrifies me.

Nikki: And I had to go to the battery store and get a new battery myself.

Nikki: And the man was really nice about the whole thing, but he did try to sell me like the premium battery, of course, like $150 more than the middle of the road one.

Nikki: And I looked at him and I said, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I don't drive this car very often.

Nikki: That seems excessive for what I need.

Nikki: I appreciate that you think you're looking out for me, but I'm going to go with the second tier one.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: And then Kyle later told me I would have gotten the cheapest one.

Salina: I was like, whatever man, whatever.

Salina: I wouldn't even gotten a battery.

Nikki: I would have just pushed it with my manly muscles.

Nikki: Whatever.

Nikki: So now strays.

Salina: Sure.

Nikki: I have stray.

Nikki: For the strays, I have fashion notes.

Salina: Oh, wonderful.

Salina: Oh my gosh.

Salina: Are there visuals?

Nikki: But I have visuals, so I need a second.

Salina: Do you want me to do astray while you're I do.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: So yeah, I think just building on.

Nikki: What you then I'm going to interrupt you and say, I found them.

Salina: Well, perfect.

Salina: Actually, my first stray was about Mary Joe in the car thing.

Salina: So the only other thing I was going to say is I completely identify with her, them asking her to make the noise.

Salina: I've had to do that before like more than once.

Nikki: To a mechanic?

Salina: Yes.

Salina: Over the phone.

Salina: And I could just totally see like a whole group of people just sitting around like laughing at the phone.

Nikki: Listen to this woman going, a chug, a chug.

Nikki: I don't know.

Nikki: It's not a real noise.

Salina: Yeah, I'm sure I was like a ping ting.

Nikki: Ma'am, I think your tire fell off.

Salina: You need to get the hospital right away.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: So my first fashion note was just the ladies in jewel tones at the beginning of the episode.

Nikki: So they were all sort of in that same palette.

Salina: They're all pretty colors.

Nikki: Palette is the right word.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Got like a nice gold, a deep purple.

Salina: And that color Turlene is wearing is.

Nikki: Like it's kind of like a teal turquoise.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Pretty.

Nikki: It is pretty.

Nikki: Then we had this look.

Nikki: I'm going to call this a look.

Nikki: This is like a whole thing from Mary Joe.

Nikki: A black turtleneck with a hot pink skirt.

Nikki: How cute that is.

Nikki: She looks adorable.

Salina: Yeah, like that.

Nikki: And I feel like that outfit would hold today.

Salina: Do her right.

Nikki: So cute, right?

Nikki: Exactly.

Nikki: And then just another Julia crisscross belt.

Salina: She's in it again, which I almost sent you something.

Salina: I saw it on Stranger things, I think.

Nikki: The crisscross belt.

Salina: I think I did.

Nikki: God, I wonder if one of the.

Salina: Moms was wearing it.

Nikki: I have Googled this several times.

Nikki: I'm a little embarrassed because I need to know if it was a specific designer or, like we talked about before, or was it something they specially created for her.

Nikki: But if you saw it I saw.

Salina: Something that was really similar.

Salina: I should have a picture.

Nikki: You should have.

Salina: Well, I'm going to rewatch all of Stranger Things again, because I'm really cool like that.

Salina: And as I do, I'll look out for the belt again.

Nikki: Thank you.

Salina: It might be about a week before I get through all four seasons, you know, again, I understand.

Salina: I have a big life.

Nikki: There's a lot going on.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Good fashion notes.

Salina: Thank you.

Salina: Mary Joe, we learned she drives a Volvo.

Nikki: Tuck that away in the old Marine.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Telling me.

Salina: It's just good to know.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: And I also think it's just good.

Nikki: To know about someone we don't know well.

Salina: I think sometimes it's sort of like playing into their personality a little bit.

Salina: It's a very safe car.

Salina: She has kids.

Nikki: Family oriented.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: The total they're charging to fix it, 506 of them.

Salina: That would be 1173 today.

Salina: That's a lot of money.

Nikki: That is a lot of money.

Salina: That's a lot of jack.

Salina: That's all I'm saying.

Salina: And I got one more.

Salina: Suzanne goes to get pork rinds.

Nikki: What about Noel?

Nikki: She doesn't care.

Salina: Addendum pork rinds are delicious.

Nikki: She really doesn't.

Salina: Don't feed them to Noel.

Salina: And don't eat her.

Salina: Maybe she's eating them now because she cannot eat them later.

Nikki: Right?

Salina: Maybe not.

Nikki: On your note about Mary Joe's Volvo, then I think in this same episode, we hear about Suzanne's Cadillac.

Nikki: And I don't know if we've ever talked about the fact that she drives a Cadillac.

Salina: Wait, is it a suzanne drives a Mercedes?

Nikki: Maybe it's a Mercedes.

Nikki: You're right.

Nikki: Maybe it's a Mercedes.

Nikki: Maybe Julia drives a Lincoln Town Car.

Nikki: She does.

Nikki: Is that soon?

Salina: Yes.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Foreshadowing.

Nikki: And also the sweet TNTV automobile podcast sort of.

Nikki: I'm like is a Mercedes.

Salina: Or to follow our president's podcast.

Salina: They're all so good.

Salina: They're all so good.

Nikki: My last stray is about location.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: So Anthony refers to Textile City as being off 75 north and then exiting at the Big chicken.

Nikki: So there is a KFC, which we talked about in season one of the podcast.

Nikki: I meant to look up what episode?

Nikki: And I did not do that.

Nikki: But we talked about there being a KFC.

Nikki: It's housed in a four story rep one, episode two thank you.

Nikki: Of a giant chicken.

Nikki: It's a very Georgia thing.

Nikki: It's located off highway 41, not I 75.

Nikki: So I've looked this up multiple times on Google maps because I honestly got a little confused in my own head.

Nikki: You would pass it on the way to Textile City if it's off 75 north.

Nikki: But you don't turn at it to get to Dalton, which is where, allegedly, Textile City is.

Nikki: It's like a whole side trip on its own.

Nikki: You get off the exit, you go down the road.

Salina: So what we have is a southern directional faux PA.

Salina: Correct.

Salina: But let me ask you something.

Salina: So this confused you in hearing it, or did you read somewhere that this was wrong?

Nikki: I read it in your notes that it was wrong.

Nikki: And then again, because I am more than just your parrots, I had to go back and do my own research because I've been to the Big Chicken before, and I was like, I should know this, and I wanted to know of, which I spoke.

Salina: Sorry, I didn't realize I shared that part with you.

Salina: About the directional faux paw a little.

Salina: Right.

Nikki: Thank you for that.

Salina: Yeah, that's fair.

Nikki: And then the distance is wrong.

Nikki: The distances were a little bit confusing.

Nikki: Intentionally?

Nikki: I think so.

Nikki: But Dalton, just so everybody knows, is about an hour and a half north of Atlanta when they said it's, like, on the Tennessee border.

Nikki: And the Big Chicken is located in Marietta, also north of Atlanta, but very.

Salina: Far from the Tennessee border.

Nikki: Correct?

Nikki: Yeah, but not 4 hours far, which is how long it took them when they got lost at the end.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Anyhow yeah, see, it's fair for me, though, what's sad is, though, I live here.

Salina: Live here?

Salina: Family of Marietta.

Salina: And the only reason I knew is because I saw it on IMDb.

Salina: Yeah, I would have noticed.

Nikki: Well, Kyle used to live in Marietta in college, so I know it's that general direction, and it's not directionally inaccurate.

Nikki: I want to be clear about that.

Nikki: It is the right direction.

Nikki: It's just you don't get there and turn left to get to Dalton.

Nikki: You keep going, it would be a whole side trip on its own.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Maybe worth it.

Nikki: If you like.

Salina: KFC, don't ever go left.

Salina: Isn't that the takeaway?

Salina: Sure.

Nikki: I try not to go right.

Nikki: It's usually the hardest turn.

Salina: All right, lead home and just keep trucking straight.

Salina: Take the road less traveled.

Salina: Right.

Nikki: I just got my new tattoo.

Salina: Perfect.

Salina: Get all of those.

Nikki: All of it down my forearm.

Salina: Yeah, get yourself start that sleeve.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: All right.

Salina: So what about what we liked?

Nikki: Suzanne's Anecdotes are on point in this episode.

Salina: All right, tell me what really worked for you.

Salina: I loved also a high for me.

Nikki: I loved her.

Nikki: Comparison of Mary Joe's car troubles to Colleen Metcalf.

Nikki: They said having her ears pinned back made her chin too prominent.

Nikki: Then having her chin filed down made her nose look too big.

Nikki: And on and on and on.

Nikki: If it was bumpy, make it flat.

Nikki: If it was big, make it little.

Nikki: If it was little, make it huge.

Nikki: Until every inch of that woman's body had been whittled tucked, lifted, pinned, implanted, or sucked.

Nikki: I mean, she had enough plastic in her for a Tupperware party.

Nikki: I loved that.

Nikki: I loved it so much.

Nikki: But I didn't love it as much as the next one.

Nikki: When she said she herself was made mostly of grizzle, when she was talking about the lady with all the meat hanging off of her at the pageant, she said there was a woman she had steaks and chops all over herself and she was carrying a sign that said beauty pageants are meat markets and Lady Gaga.

Nikki: Right?

Nikki: She said, then you're looking at grade A prime rib right here.

Nikki: She said she herself was mostly grizzle.

Salina: I just love the way she said it.

Nikki: I listened to it multiple times.

Salina: That's so funny.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: That first delivery, too, where she's just like talking about Colleen or whatever.

Salina: It's just really great writing.

Salina: But you need the two things, right?

Salina: You need the writing and you need the good act.

Nikki: You can't separate the two.

Salina: No.

Salina: Because one, if you don't have one, you have nothing, right?

Salina: So, yeah, it was great.

Nikki: I loved her.

Salina: I had one more additional Suzanne line that was alike for me.

Salina: This is later on when they find out they're only going to get $0.50 for 4 hours of work.

Salina: And she says $0.50?

Salina: Are you telling me that three grown up women just work 4 hours for fifty cents?

Salina: I once had a man offer me $400 just to and then right about that, Mary Joe cuts her off and.

Nikki: I want to hear it.

Salina: Yeah, just what I'm going to guess.

Salina: Motorboat.

Nikki: Oh, yeah.

Nikki: Maybe.

Salina: There you go.

Salina: So now we know.

Salina: We'll just fill that gap in.

Salina: There's a joke in there, too.

Salina: Anyways, what else did you like?

Nikki: My last, like for this episode was Anthony's impression of Mary Joe.

Salina: So good.

Salina: Get on with your sales.

Nikki: He was so funny.

Salina: That was great.

Salina: And then it is also just that idea of him just spitting out all of that real car savvy stuff.

Salina: It was just perfect.

Salina: And then him getting the offer of a date was nice.

Salina: That really did it for that guy.

Salina: I've always wanted myself a car woman.

Salina: There were some funny parts at the textile factory.

Salina: It's not the right word, I think.

Salina: So workshop, I guess.

Salina: I don't know.

Nikki: Sweatshop.

Salina: You can tell I've been in a lot of textile factories.

Salina: Anyways, sewing room.

Salina: Yes.

Salina: When the ladies try and finish sewing the curtains themselves, mary Joe calls Suzanne an unskilled laborer.

Salina: To which Suzanne replies she's proud to say that none of her social circle has skills.

Salina: I love that.

Nikki: It's a point of pride for her.

Salina: Which is really it's really all Suzanne things.

Salina: Because the other thing that I thought was the funniest is when she sewed her hair and hair curses.

Salina: And let me tell you why.

Salina: Because that is me in Home Eck.

Nikki: I would have loved did you really do that?

Salina: No, but I was no good.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: I would have loved if, like, a hair piece had fallen out or something.

Nikki: That would have been very funny.

Salina: Yeah, but she was batting 1000.

Salina: Is that right?

Salina: What do you bet?

Nikki: That sounds right.

Salina: Okay, yes, she was batting twelve.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: I also like Julia's schoolhouse.

Salina: Rock on fair labor.

Salina: That's what I'm calling it.

Salina: Schoolhouse of rock.

Salina: Wait, House of Rock.

Salina: That's not it.

Salina: What is it?

Nikki: Schoolhouse Rock.

Salina: That's it.

Nikki: Yeah, you got it right.

Salina: I was getting Jack Black movie confused.

Salina: I am not batting 1000.

Salina: Okay, so this is what she says.

Salina: She says, you know, I was reciting it to myself just this morning, but there's a problem with it.

Salina: It doesn't wash.

Salina: See, basically that argument goes, it's okay to be unfair to a small group if that makes things run smoother for a large group.

Salina: It sounds good until you realize that's always been the excuse for all the injustice in the world.

Salina: You have to look out for that argument because ultimately we're all small groups and we're all labor.

Salina: So until you wake up and take in that fact, Mr.

Salina: Emery, textile city ain't big enough for the both of us.

Salina: So I thought the lines were good.

Salina: It's also a nice queue up for this week's extra sugar, which will be about labor unions.

Salina: It sounds like it's a joke.

Salina: And I'm going to tell you something else.

Salina: Like, it's going to be a taste test, but it's really going to be about labor unions.

Salina: So buckle up, guys.

Nikki: I feel like it's also a queue up for a thing I didn't like.

Salina: Tell me, tell me.

Nikki: You mentioned this sort of at the top of the episode.

Nikki: I thought the way they introduced that lady at the end was sort of lame.

Nikki: And almost the whole button on the episode, that piece of the episode was sort of lame.

Nikki: So they've had these people standing outside their place of business for a week, weeks, some amount of time.

Nikki: Charlene's been out there talking to them.

Salina: Getting their coffee stories.

Nikki: It took this one lady coming at the end on the weekend to finally get Julia to be an ally.

Nikki: The rest of the episode, she's been kind of a jerk about labor rights.

Nikki: So it took this one lady to bring her around or something.

Nikki: I don't know.

Nikki: It just felt really lame.

Salina: Well, this is what I was talking about, about the execution.

Salina: Just slightly off.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: So I think this will kind of pair nicely with what you're saying.

Salina: And this is one of my dislikes, which was I liked what she said to the manager.

Salina: I'm not sure that it's fair she's the one that got to say it, right?

Salina: It should have been, at the very least, Charles Charlene.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Because she understood what exactly we've been saying this whole time.

Salina: She understood from the beginning and she was like an ally.

Salina: From the beginning and so it felt a little unfair for Julia to be able to lay the SmackDown.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: I love her terminator tirades.

Nikki: I really do, because we talk all the time about how articulate she is and how she says the things we wish we could say.

Nikki: But I do sometimes get annoyed.

Nikki: She gets to be the mouthpiece for everything when she's not always the I don't know.

Nikki: I'm with you.

Nikki: She didn't deserve to say that.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Sit down.

Nikki: Julia, no one asked your opinion.

Salina: What else did you dislike?

Nikki: That was only when I wrote down.

Salina: Okay, you're like, I have other things, I'm going to keep them to myself.

Salina: That better not be for your secret podcast.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: So I only had just one more thing and this actually, I think the reason I even thought about this in the first place is because you mentioned at some point, sometimes the laugh track is weird.

Salina: And so I felt like I would have not kept the laugh track over this line that Anthony said just because it wasn't really funny and it was kind of like it's kind of like a horrible situation.

Salina: Maybe it's an uncomfortable laugh, but he says to Mary Joe, usually this room is crammed full of little women and big sewing machines and it's like and I was like, that's just weird.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I'm like, well, none of that's funny.

Salina: What?

Salina: The line is not funny.

Salina: Reacting in that way isn't funny.

Salina: I feel weird about laughing.

Salina: Like the laughter around it.

Salina: And laugh tracks already suck, right?

Salina: So the whole thing, I was just like, weird.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: But anyways, I think it's got me once you said something, it's got me thinking about where they decided to put those laugh tracks and it wasn't a good placement.

Nikki: Not always good.

Salina: Yeah, pretty much.

Salina: So do you want to rate this sucker?

Nikki: I do.

Nikki: My rating scale is tomatoed auto body shops.

Nikki: I'm not going to be able to say that again.

Salina: That's a toughie.

Nikki: I don't know why I picked that.

Salina: That's real tough.

Nikki: I'm going to shorten it to tabs.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: I gave it three out of five tabs.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: I thought this episode was fine.

Nikki: It wasn't bad.

Nikki: Just wasn't my favorite to watch.

Nikki: I love the dialogue in parts, especially at the beginning.

Nikki: Some of the things Suzanne got to say, it felt kind of preachy, which we've said before, or at least I've said before.

Nikki: There are some episodes where I didn't feel like I was being preached to.

Nikki: I knew I was watching something tremendous, but I didn't feel like someone was shoving it down my throats.

Nikki: This one felt like that.

Salina: It's like the reading episode where dash golf comes and they're like, books are important the more you know.

Salina: Yeah, it's similar to that.

Salina: And actually, I think that might have been episode seven in season two.

Salina: And this is episode seven.

Salina: So maybe this is just where we get you're just trying to hammer out a bunch of episodes.

Salina: Oh, yeah.

Salina: I mean, it's just where it's just pretext.

Nikki: Yeah, it's fine.

Salina: I also gave it three out of five proudly unskilled social circles.

Salina: Three out of five proudly unskilled social circles.

Salina: So also two very difficult reading skills.

Nikki: You said yours better, though.

Salina: Well, I'll screw up other places.

Salina: There were some funny parts sprinkled throughout, same as you.

Salina: But again, it's the same stuff.

Salina: It didn't feel quite right.

Salina: It didn't feel quite finished, so it was a little lacking in some areas.

Salina: So three out of five.

Salina: Three out of five ain't bad.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: It's average.

Salina: Who buttered our biscuits?

Nikki: I guess it's the Sugar Baker's team.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Because they put aside the really good deal to advocate on behalf of all the workers.

Salina: Mine was integrity question mark.

Nikki: Oh.

Salina: I wanted to do, like, a really large concept.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: Are you going to break it down for us, or is that it just integrity question for what you will.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Who lost the episode?

Salina: Who served us lumpy gravy?

Nikki: It has to be Mr.

Nikki: Emery, right?

Nikki: There's not another choice.

Salina: I have, like, eight losses here.

Nikki: And Julia.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: I have everyone else question mark.

Nikki: Oh.

Salina: Suzanne had to participate in manual labor, sewed her hair in curtains, can't move her neck, and gets threatened by coworkers unless she pickets.

Salina: Mary joe's mechanic.

Salina: If you just boil it down to that, it feels like she's having a rough day.

Salina: It feels like, I don't know, a day at work.

Salina: Mary Joe's car is being held hostage, so she's having to go, like, PRYA out of the hands of these people.

Salina: Sugar Bakers lost their motel client.

Salina: The textile place lost the Sugar Baker contract.

Salina: It feels like everyone's having lumpy gravy at this point.

Nikki: Some of them deserve it, though, I think.

Salina: There are no winners today.

Salina: 80s things.

Nikki: Jimmy Swagger.

Nikki: We've referenced him a lot.

Nikki: I think we even talked about him at one point in depth.

Salina: We did.

Salina: But this is I'd say the only thing that's different this time is that this is the first post scandal reference that insinuates that he's had an affair before this.

Salina: He was like I think he was still at his elevated status now.

Nikki: Really?

Salina: He's with the rest of us.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: It was just about him being, like, a TV evangelical.

Nikki: Oh, interesting.

Salina: I think.

Salina: And now, like, maybe we broke down.

Nikki: The fact that he had I think we did.

Nikki: So for anyone who hasn't listened to past episodes, he was sort of the original televangelist.

Nikki: He was widely on TV as being a pastor.

Salina: Yeah, I get that.

Salina: Him and Jim Baker, jim and Jerry Falwell, they all sort of run together.

Nikki: One of the originals.

Salina: I know, but I was just saying they all run together in my head.

Nikki: One of them.

Nikki: I'm so sorry, but he tearfully apologized on his television program in 1988 for being caught with a sex worker at a motel.

Salina: There was a lot of tearful apologies that year, I think.

Salina: Oh, really?

Nikki: From all of these.

Salina: Yeah, there was one.

Salina: Well, I didn't realize all I'm saying is you guys go watch the eyes of Tammy Faye Baker.

Salina: Or the eyes of Tammy whatever it's called, with Jessica Chastain.

Salina: Super good.

Nikki: Is that what it's about?

Salina: It's about her.

Salina: And she plays Tammy Faye.

Salina: And then her and Jim Baker and Their rise in that world.

Salina: And then they're fall.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: And it's really good.

Salina: Solid movie.

Salina: I mean, she did win an Oscar, so I guess it's something.

Nikki: The Smurfs is another 80 thing.

Nikki: 80s thing.

Nikki: That's what Charlene's brother looked like after working in Blue Ink.

Nikki: Then my last 80s thing is the Chevy Chavet.

Nikki: That's the car the employee at Textile City wants to buy with the money that she's earning.

Nikki: It was manufactured from the late 70s through the okay.

Salina: All right.

Salina: Good catch.

Salina: The only other one I have in 80s is Tucker.

Salina: This is mentioned when Anthony is speaking to Mary Joe's mechanic.

Salina: This was the 1988 movie with Jeff Bridges called Tucker the man and His Dream.

Salina: I don't think that's the best name for a movie, but who am I to say?

Salina: But it's about Preston Tucker.

Salina: He's the maverick car designer, and it's about his ill fated challenge to the auto industry with his revolutionary car concept.

Salina: We can link to an interesting article about his car that has been described like the Star Wars of that period.

Nikki: What was it?

Salina: I don't remember.

Salina: That is an interesting article.

Nikki: Oh, it wasn't the Back to the Future car.

Salina: No, that was interesting.

Salina: Which they're making an electric version of that.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: Was the car of the future.

Salina: That'll be my next car.

Nikki: The DeLorean.

Nikki: That's the name I couldn't think of DeLorean.

Salina: Something practical.

Nikki: Sure.

Salina: Something to shuffle the kids around.

Salina: Then, of course, southern things.

Nikki: Somebody said hillbillies at some point.

Nikki: You've broken that one down for us in season one.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Episode go.

Nikki: Do you know what episode it was?

Salina: Oh, episode four, season one.

Nikki: Look at that.

Nikki: Another Stuckey's reference was in Suzanne's road trip diatribe.

Nikki: You want to say something about that?

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Can we stay there for a second?

Nikki: Sure.

Salina: Are you sure?

Salina: Is that all you're going to say is Stuckey's?

Nikki: Yeah, that's all I'm going to say because we've talked about it before.

Salina: Well, it's really a string of Southern references, and she paints a pretty specific stereotype.

Salina: I think this is where we get the hillbillies, right?

Salina: Yeah, but about who stays in motels.

Salina: Stereotype, folks.

Salina: A stereotype.

Salina: I want to be very clear.

Salina: But she says, well, it's fine if you have a bunch of hillbillies traveling to Rock City with a bunch of kids in the backseat playing license plate bingo and eating cold biscuits out of wax paper and stopping at Stuckey's every five minutes for taffy.

Salina: I'm just saying there's a lot of things there to unpack.

Salina: We have Rock City that is located at the top of Lookout Mountain, which is in Tennessee, right?

Nikki: Oh, no, Georgia.

Salina: It's Georgia.

Salina: And that's funny you say that, because it is so far up there that I usually think it's in Chattanooga, but it's just right inside the line, about 6 miles in.

Salina: There's nature trails and panoramic views where you can see seven states.

Salina: But it's really turned into, like, a whole little touristy thing up there.

Salina: The cold biscuit and wax paper.

Nikki: Oh, wait, I have one more thing to add about Rock City.

Salina: Of course.

Nikki: It opened in 1932, and it gained prominence after an artist painted Sea Rock City on barn roofs across the Southeast.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: By 1969, more than 900 roofs and walls had been painted.

Nikki: And if you are from Sea Rock City sea Rock City.

Nikki: Have you seen do you not know what I'm talking about?

Salina: I've seen Sea Rock City on things.

Salina: I just thought it was like a.

Nikki: Marketing campaign in the 1930s.

Nikki: That's a pretty good one.

Nikki: It was.

Salina: How about an enduring legacy there?

Salina: And so what I was going to.

Nikki: Say is, if you've driven around the Southeast, you've probably seen mostly I mostly see birdhouses that are little red barns with a black roof, and it says Sea Rock City.

Nikki: There's one right outside my neighborhood, in fact.

Nikki: But I wanted to mention that because 900 roofs and walls having been painted by 1969.

Nikki: So 30 some odd years.

Nikki: That's a lot.

Salina: That's a lot.

Salina: Have you seen Rock City?

Nikki: I think I asked Kyle this question.

Nikki: I think we went there.

Nikki: I have friends that live in Chattanooga.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: And I think we went to visit them around Christmas, and we saw some lights up near Rock City.

Nikki: And I think we went to Roxy.

Nikki: I'm sure I went as a kid, too.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: On the list to go back as an adult.

Salina: This is like that thing, too, where I just this doesn't make any sense.

Salina: But I get it because there's a cluster of, like, touristy things in that area.

Salina: In that area, yeah.

Salina: I get it confused with Anna Ruby falls.

Nikki: That was just going through my head.

Salina: Which I know for sure I've been to.

Salina: But Sea Rock City?

Salina: I'm actually not very sure.

Nikki: Yeah, I think they have.

Nikki: I was looking it up and actually thinking it would be a fun trip with the kids because what I read said that it was like the first mini golf in the Southeast or something.

Nikki: It hosted the first mini golf.

Nikki: And I should have written all this down.

Nikki: This man, like, built it for his wife, I think, and wanted it to be like, this fun thing.

Nikki: And so it was the first mini golf place, and anyway, it's a fun little tourist place.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: We've either been or not been.

Salina: You guys should totally go.

Salina: Sea Rock City.

Salina: Would you like to be a sponsor?

Nikki: Sponsor?

Nikki: A trip for us.

Nikki: We'd love to go.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Then we can definitely say we've been right.

Nikki: No questions.

Salina: Somebody's getting tagged soon.

Salina: So cold biscuit and wax paper.

Salina: All I have to say is don't hate Suzanne.

Salina: Some of the best biscuits you ever put in your mouth might be served in wax paper.

Salina: And the worst.

Salina: But also the best.

Nikki: Also the best.

Salina: You never know what you're going to get.

Salina: It's a total crapshoot.

Salina: It's usually like at a little gas station.

Salina: It's worth the chance.

Salina: Could be good.

Salina: Take the chance.

Salina: That's all I'm saying.

Salina: If you're in the south and you see it, get it.

Nikki: Agreed.

Salina: And then we talked about stuckey's before, but I just wanted to mention that I feel like that's bucky's 1.0.

Nikki: I think so.

Nikki: I don't know that I've been to a stuckey's before.

Salina: Well, I've never been to one.

Salina: I mean, maybe when I was real little.

Salina: Right.

Nikki: I don't remember being to one, I should say.

Salina: The reason I say that is because they're rest stops and they were really known for their clean bathrooms.

Salina: But stuckey started in Georgia, so that is a Georgia specific thing.

Nikki: Is the one that had Shoney's connected to it?

Salina: In God's perfect world, it would be.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: Nice ducky con logs and Shoney's and.

Salina: Breakfast bar at Shoney's has a whole piece of heaven on her.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Do you have other southern things?

Nikki: I have one more.

Salina: Oh, tell me that Azaleas.

Nikki: So Julia is mad because the protesters are traipsing through her azaleas trapezin.

Nikki: Trapezin.

Nikki: A deep dive tells me they're not unique to the south.

Nikki: They have them in Asia and south America.

Nikki: But on the list of areas with an azalea festival, there are about 1.2 million of them that are hosted in the south, give or take a couple of hundred.

Salina: It feels like we took it over.

Nikki: I think so.

Salina: Yeah, that's right.

Salina: I think our research went different ways, but in the south, per use was good.

Salina: We're covering all the bases.

Salina: You will know everything about the Azilia before we leave.

Salina: No, but it became like a southern garden staple in the 1830s from what I read, and they were actually first planted in south Carolina, specifically Charleston.

Salina: I don't know if you go ran past that or not, but actually what I have is that here's what I'm trying to say.

Salina: If you are in the south and it is spring, you cannot swing a pan of crackling, comb bread and not hit yourself in azalea.

Nikki: You're so extra.

Salina: We're a southern podcast.

Nikki: I like it.

Salina: Suzanne mentions coca colas, which I thought was a very good like atlantean plug, but she also did it right.

Salina: She didn't say coca cola.

Salina: She said coca cola.

Salina: Coca cola, which is if it is a real very southern person, that is what you'll hear.

Salina: I don't say that, but again, I'm a terrible southerner.

Salina: Tammy wynette charlene refers to something Suzanne said sounding like a tammy Wynette song.

Salina: Sounds like they're talking about the song.

Salina: Divorce or divorce, I don't know.

Salina: In Atlanta area.

Salina: Deep cut.

Salina: You already mentioned the Big Chicken you had talked about before.

Salina: But what I could not remember from that, Nikki's Nibbles, because it's been so long, is whether or not you talked about what it was before.

Salina: It was a KFC.

Salina: Did you talk about that?

Nikki: This feels familiar.

Salina: It was a Johnny Reb's chick.

Salina: Chuck and shake.

Nikki: No, man, we didn't talk about this.

Salina: Okay, so this is what it was before.

Nikki: Way better than KFC.

Nikki: Sorry.

Nikki: KFC.

Salina: So it featured Dixie Fried Chicken by the sack, by the box or by the barrel.

Salina: And a barrel of chicken was 21 pieces for 475.

Nikki: That's a freaking deal.

Salina: Yeah, it's a good deal.

Salina: It was a different time, too.

Nikki: But I'd have to order a sack.

Salina: Though, not the barrel.

Nikki: Sack is such a funny one.

Salina: You just need a sack of chicken.

Salina: But we'll link to an article with more information on that.

Salina: Marriott a landmark.

Salina: It was a cool article.

Nikki: When was that?

Salina: Sixty s, I think.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: Interesting.

Salina: Yeah, 60s, I'm pretty sure.

Salina: And finally, while I understand they needed a way to explain what this was to the audience, it's preposterous that a native like Julia wouldn't know what the Big Chicken was.

Salina: She's like, what's, the big chicken?

Nikki: I don't think so.

Nikki: You know how people who live in Atlanta are the Big Chicken if it's outside the perimeter?

Nikki: They don't know.

Nikki: No offense to people who live inside the perimeter, but they are among anyone.

Nikki: They are among the people who are just like, if it is outside the perimeter, like, we were talking about generations not knowing.

Nikki: Oh, I'm too young to know that.

Nikki: People who live inside the perimeter apparently have never left 285.

Nikki: They have no idea what's out there.

Nikki: And it feels like the Wild West to them because they are always like, Where is that?

Nikki: That's like a million miles away.

Salina: Right?

Nikki: And you're like it's in Marietta.

Nikki: It's like, 20 minutes.

Nikki: If there's no traffic, it's only a.

Salina: Million miles away because traffic sucks.

Salina: It is a million minutes away.

Nikki: Yeah, right.

Nikki: With traffic.

Salina: That's what's going on there.

Nikki: So I believe Julia wouldn't know it.

Salina: We're a big tent here inside the perimeter.

Salina: People include us.

Salina: I lived inside the perimeter.

Salina: The reason I didn't leave is because I didn't have a car.

Nikki: That's a big thing.

Salina: And that's because we also really need to amp up our public transportation.

Nikki: That's correct.

Salina: So just a couple of plugs there for Atlanta.

Nikki: Got some notes for you.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: It's not Atlanta who's not trying to get out to the burbs who are trying to keep the mardos out.

Nikki: We're all at fault here.

Salina: That's a story for another.

Nikki: Learn about one another, right?

Salina: The only other Southern thing I had is who would have thought it would have been so hard to hem some dagum curtains ask Charlene and Dagum.

Nikki: Dagum.

Salina: That's pretty Southern references we need to talk about.

Nikki: I think we should talk about pageant protesters.

Nikki: Oh, that was something that Suzanne mentioned.

Nikki: I told you, the steak lady.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: It caught my ear, and I found that a 1968 protest of the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City may be the source of the mythical, quote, angry women burning bras image.

Nikki: Like bra burning?

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Several hundred women gathered that year to protest Miss America.

Nikki: They issued a document with ten of their chief complaints, including racism because black women weren't allowed to compete, the role of Miss America as a death mascot since the queen had a role in entertaining the troops, and the elevation of mediocrity, since winners were expected to be unoffensive, bland, and apolitical.

Nikki: The article I found said, quote, the women planned to protest the image of Miss America, an image that oppresses women in every area in which it purports to represent us.

Nikki: The protest would feature a freedom trash can into which women could throw away all the physical manifestations of women's oppression, such as bras, girdles, curlers, false eyelashes, wigs, and representative issues of Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, and Family Circle, along with other magazines.

Nikki: I guess.

Nikki: The organizers also proposed a concurrent boycott of companies whose products were used in or sponsored the pageant, and mail reporters would not be allowed to interview protesters, which remains one of the loveliest details of the protest, is what the article said.

Nikki: That's fantastic.

Nikki: But when she was talking about pageant protesters, and that doesn't sound unusual to me, that does feel like something that would be protested, but that one protest, for whatever reason, stuck out to me, I think, because of the bra burning.

Nikki: And I was like, oh, is that what it refers to?

Salina: I'm so glad you mentioned that.

Salina: And let me tell you why.

Salina: Tell me why in my bra, extra sugar.

Salina: How did I not talk about burning bras?

Nikki: And how also much else to cover.

Salina: There is such a false legacy around that, right?

Salina: There's so much that comes that is like these it's become, like, mythical and not correct and not talking about these other aspects that you're talking about.

Salina: And so thank you for tacking on to my extra sugar for you.

Salina: Thank you.

Salina: I'll burn my bra right now.

Nikki: I also had to look up whether there was actually an ink factory in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, because that's what Charlene said.

Salina: Her brother okay.

Salina: Why?

Nikki: Her brother was blue.

Nikki: I didn't find any evidence of an ink factory lies, but I did find this.

Nikki: That the largest us.

Nikki: Nail manufacturer.

Nikki: So, like, nails you hammer into the wall?

Salina: Sure.

Nikki: Mid continent steel and wire is located in Poplar Bluff.

Nikki: It is one of 15 nail companies in the US.

Nikki: And accounted for half of US.

Nikki: Nail production as of June 2018.

Salina: That's a lot.

Nikki: So there's some manufacturing in Poplar Bluff, just not maybe an ink factory right.

Salina: Interesting.

Nikki: I Googled Ink Factory, Poplar Bluff, and it kept coming up with a business called the Ink Factory, where you get your, like, printer ink.

Nikki: Guessing that's not the same Ink Factory she was talking about.

Nikki: That was the closest I could find.

Nikki: And because I'm committed to finding a thing, maybe I bring you the nail company.

Salina: The visual with what would happen bad with nails would not have been funny.

Nikki: I would have laughed hysterically about someone.

Salina: Getting nailed to death.

Salina: Yeah, well, it's like in Home Alone.

Nikki: When he has the nail gun go through him.

Nikki: It's funny every time.

Nikki: Physical comedy.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: All it makes me think of is my mom.

Salina: She couldn't watch that movie because she said all of the stuff that kept happening to them made her she said she felt their pain.

Salina: All of this feels like it's, like, painful to me.

Nikki: Don't we feel like they deserved it, though?

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I mean, don't go after Kevin McAllister.

Nikki: That's what they're just like any child.

Salina: No, just Kevin McAllister.

Nikki: Just McAuley.

Salina: Yeah, just him.

Salina: Fair point.

Salina: I only had one.

Salina: Well, it's technically two, but it's because she says it all in one stride, which is this is Suzanne talking, and she said, what are you, the USO.

Salina: For the AF of lcio.

Salina: Which was, like, a lot of I got law.

Salina: It was very governmenty sounding there.

Salina: Anyways, USO is in the United Service Organization, so we're talking about, like, the USO that goes and does things for the troops.

Salina: Right.

Salina: But they are the nation's leading charitable organization serving active duty service members and military families.

Salina: The other piece is the American Federation of labor and Congress of Industrial Organization.

Salina: That rolls right off the tongue.

Salina: Or also known as the Largest federation of unions in the United States.

Salina: This is the start of a good segue into this week's extra sugar.

Salina: And my only other parting thought here is this is one of those Suzanne references where I feel like they can't decide if she's well read or not.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: That seems like a very specific acronym to know about.

Salina: Just so that's all for me.

Salina: Do we have anything in the old cut line?

Nikki: Yeah, too.

Nikki: So after Suzanne says, well, you'd think the Lord would have a little more taste when talking about motels.

Nikki: She also says, especially considering what goes on in those places.

Nikki: I mean, a million years ago, he blew up Sodom and Gomorrah, and back then, they didn't even have vibrating waterbeds.

Nikki: So Julia says, Suzanne, despite your lurid and oddly well informed fantasies, this motel happens to be a family establishment.

Nikki: Thank you very much.

Nikki: Then there was a big old cut line after Mary Joe said that the cold keeps the rats in their holes.

Nikki: And before Suzanne said, I don't care.

Nikki: I'm just starving, and I'm bringing it up because it underscored the bad working conditions.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: So I think Suzanne says, can we please stop making those rat references.

Nikki: Suzanne, it wasn't a rat you saw.

Nikki: It was just a little mouse like Mickey.

Nikki: You like Mickey Mouse, don't you, Charlene?

Nikki: Don't patronize me.

Nikki: That wasn't Mickey Mouse.

Nikki: That rat I saw.

Nikki: He wasn't wearing little pants and shoes and gloves.

Nikki: He was eating a candy wrapper.

Nikki: Mickey Mouse doesn't run around because he can't get into garbage cans eating candy wrappers.

Nikki: Wouldn't it be great if he did?

Nikki: I mean, you know, if a guy that wears that big mouse suit at Disneyland acted like a real rodent, instead of shaking hands and having his picture taken with the kids, he just stole candy and hid under things.

Nikki: Mary Joe, you're getting punchy.

Nikki: I think we need to get you something to eat.

Nikki: Forget about that lunch room.

Nikki: It's just a closet with two old vending machines.

Nikki: I just had a butterfinger with little fur coat on.

Nikki: It doesn't sound good.

Salina: That Mary Joe part sounds like charlene.

Nikki: I thought it was.

Salina: I would have thought that was Charlene talking.

Nikki: I thought it was.

Salina: She was getting punchy.

Nikki: She was getting punchy.

Nikki: She'd turned into Charlene.

Salina: Don't give her any liquor right now.

Nikki: It wouldn't go well.

Salina: Get that lady some poor craft.

Salina: So that's it.

Nikki: All right, next episode, episode eight, the Wilderness Experience.

Nikki: As always, we'd love everyone to follow along with us and engage Instagram and Facebook at sweettv.

Nikki: Email, and our website is

Nikki: And if you visit that web link, you can support us.

Nikki: You can click the support us tab and find ways that you can support the show.

Nikki: And you can also tell your family and friends about the show because we love new listeners.

Nikki: And hang tight for Extra Sugar, where.

Salina: We'Re talking about workers rights in Southern states.

Nikki: It's going to be a banger.

Salina: Well, we'll see you around the bin.

Salina: Bye.

Salina: Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.

Salina: So this week's episode was squarely focused on an age old story the worker versus the employer or the manager or the man, however you want to put it.

Nikki: The man.

Nikki: That's how I want to put it.

Salina: The man.

Nikki: Boom.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Have our own extra segment in this Extra Sugar, but as you and I were planning this season's Extra Sugars, we had, like, a little bit of a side conversation about labor unions in the south, or really the lack of unions in the south, and that was pretty much the genesis for this one.

Salina: So I also probably need to go ahead and admit that that was pretty much the breadth and depth of my knowledge about this entire thing.

Salina: I was like, oh, gosh, I think she thinks I might know more than I know.

Nikki: But you do now, don't you?

Salina: Sure.

Salina: Well, you tell me after we're done.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: I researched a lot, but the history of labor in this country is long.

Salina: It's storied, it's complicated.

Salina: Today, what we cover is really a mere drop in the bucket, and I'm not a labor expert, so I don't know if that's clear or not.

Salina: Simply a laborer at best.

Salina: So I'm also not claiming to be an expert.

Salina: Rather, what I thought was that this could be an opportunity for us to do a couple of things together.

Salina: One, let's check in on where labor unions are in general.

Salina: They've been in the news quite a bit lately, at least over the course of the spring.

Salina: There's always going to be a little lag between when we have these conversations and when they actually air.

Salina: But it's almost impossible to talk about what's happened in the south without talking about unions because Southern policy is largely a reaction to them, or at least in my reading it was.

Salina: Please feel free to direct message us if you think I'm wrong.

Salina: But then what we'll do is we'll talk about the south specifically and how that reaction has shaped the laws and policies that continue to this day.

Salina: So like you said, for real banger.

Salina: It's going to be a real banger.

Salina: But do stop me if you have questions.

Salina: Jump in anytime and we'll make resources available for anyone who wants to dig in further.

Salina: I'm just going to say generally though, that if I was just going to do a ten minute segment on this, it wasn't even worth doing because it's too complicated for it to be just ten minutes.

Nikki: Oh, no.

Salina: Let's do a quick primer for listeners who need one.

Salina: And to be clear, I needed one.

Salina: Just to get back to the basics when I started researching, everyone should know that there are a lot of federal laws in place that cover millions of workers workplaces and workplace activities, about 200 to be exact.

Salina: And these cover things like minimum wage, overtime, child labor prevention.

Salina: That's actually the genesis of the labor unions.

Salina: I believe in protecting jobs for those who have to take urgent family or medical leave.

Salina: What I'm trying to say is, if you think your job is bad today, go look in the past because it.

Nikki: Was even worse, especially if it was like manual labor.

Nikki: Yes, like farming sort of stuff, sure.

Salina: But today we're going to focus the conversation on two major camps in the US.

Salina: Labor unions and right to work states.

Salina: There is a lot of rhetoric out there on both sides which made research challenging both sides state an intention to protect workers while accusing the other side of trying to take away workers rights.

Salina: And I am purposely using the word accusing because there is a lot of accusatory language.

Salina: Further, because the different organizations language was also very loaded, I pulled the definitions from the most neutral places I could find.

Salina: So Miriam Webster tells us that labor unions are an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members interest in respect to wages, benefits and working conditions.

Salina: And right to work is opposing or banning the closed shop and the union.

Salina: Shop.

Salina: This is specifically a place of work where membership in a union is a condition for being hired and for continued employment.

Salina: For the record, there are open shops, which means this is where a business where a union exists.

Salina: But union membership is not a condition of being hired.

Salina: Before we continue, I want to say that we're entering this conversation with a lot of respect.

Salina: We're talking about people's livelihoods here, so I want to be really aware of that.

Salina: I've had family members in three industries where unions loom large automobile, railroads, and the airlines.

Salina: So some have been workers, others have been management.

Salina: It turns out even I have a union rep in the family.

Salina: Had no idea.

Salina: I've never talked to anyone close to labor with lukewarm feelings.

Salina: They're usually very passionate about it, and those feelings really run the gamut.

Salina: They're all over the place.

Salina: So I just want to say we understand these are very serious issues, and we're going to treat them as such.

Salina: So let's talk about labor unions.

Nikki: Okay?

Salina: All right.

Salina: So coincidentally, they've gained momentum recently due to a quote unquote, union friendly administration.

Salina: Coupled with worker frustration that really ramped up during the pandemic.

Salina: A lot of people were having a tough time.

Salina: So we're seeing in real time how workers are faring in their efforts to organize at big companies like Starbucks and Amazon, places where you didn't historically see that kind of thing happen.

Salina: Their success has really varied.

Salina: But according to an NPR article, union election petitions have surged, with the National Labor Relations Board up 57% in the first half of fiscal year 2022, and that's over the prior year.

Salina: So despite this momentum, union membership is really low in the US.

Salina: You want to take a guess about what percentage of private sector people 8%.

Salina: That's pretty good.

Salina: Roughly 10% are unionized.

Salina: That number actually jumps to a third among public sector workers.

Salina: Okay, so why is it so low?

Salina: For one, organizing not easy, especially in manufacturing.

Salina: According to Kate Braun from Brenner, she's the director of Labor Education Research at Cornell, there's a 75% chance the employer will threaten to move production out of the country.

Nikki: When you go to unionize or add something here, please.

Nikki: While you were talking, I was looking down at my phone because I was trying to find I listened to a podcast episode about unions, like, several months ago, coinciding with us talking about this extra sugar.

Nikki: It's freakonomics radio.

Salina: It's great.

Nikki: Episode 496 do unions Still Work?

Nikki: And one of the undercurrents of the episode was the concept of setting up a union at Amazon.

Nikki: And one of the things they talked about was how, for that petition, when employees it's been a couple of minutes since I listened to it, so I might have some of this wrong.

Nikki: But when employees went to submit their ballot for whether they wanted to vote for or against the union amazon installed, like, a camera over the ballot box.

Nikki: And they say it was to keep from ballot stuffing and all that sort of stuff.

Nikki: But the people who are voting feel like they're watching us.

Nikki: They also timed the red lights on campus so that union people standing out trying to hand out pamphlets about the union or whatever didn't have the time to hand them to people because the red lights turned too quickly.

Nikki: So there were these steps that the company allegedly I'm saying allegedly because I didn't research this myself this was in this episode, but steps that employees report the company took to keep them from setting up a union.

Nikki: Silver scrunch, but worth listening to the episode because it tells a lot about some of the things you're talking about.

Salina: Yeah, I'm like or just turn this off and probably go listen to that one.

Nikki: I think there's more.

Nikki: Salina has more to offer.

Salina: We'll see.

Nikki: Well, we will have they didn't talk about the southern England.

Salina: That's right.

Salina: This is different.

Salina: So the other big thing, in addition to the kind of things you're talking about and just really the companies putting up some major barricades there are the laws themselves and the union laws.

Salina: So these haven't been updated since 1947.

Salina: And that can also make starting a union difficult, apparently, too.

Salina: I don't have this right in front of me, but that time in the 40s was a very anti union time.

Salina: So they were really trying to put up more barriers, and it seemed to have worked.

Salina: In my reading, there have been several failed attempts over the last 50 or so years to reform labor laws, but here we are.

Salina: Americans are largely in favor of unions.

Salina: A 2021 Gallup Poll found 68% approve of them.

Salina: This is the highest percentage since 1965.

Salina: So 10% are and 68% are four.

Salina: That's quite a disparity there.

Salina: But Pew Research Center also reported the majority of adults see the decline of union membership as bad for the US.

Salina: And for working people.

Salina: So just to give us an idea of, like, okay, but where are Americans on this?

Salina: There is, frankly, a lot of propaganda on both sides.

Salina: I want to run through some pros and cons for unions before we move on to the south, because really I'm trying to be as balanced about this as I absolutely can be.

Nikki: Can I ask you a question about the numbers real quick?

Salina: Sure.

Nikki: So 10% of public employees are members of unions.

Salina: Private.

Nikki: Sorry?

Nikki: Private.

Nikki: That's what I meant.

Nikki: About 10%.

Nikki: 60% of Americans are for unions.

Nikki: Do we know of that?

Nikki: 60%?

Nikki: Like, how many are eligible to be in a union?

Nikki: Does that speak to some of the disparity?

Salina: That's a great question that I do not know the answer to.

Salina: It could just be with the types of jobs, if that's what you're getting at.

Salina: But I think also what unions are trying to do, especially when we're thinking about Amazon, Starbucks, these kind of gig employees, I imagine.

Salina: And from my reading, I think they're trying to figure out how do we get employees of this nature to organize because we don't have as many manufacturing jobs anymore.

Nikki: Right.

Nikki: It's changed.

Salina: So I think a lot of that is just like, I think there's probably some bureaucracy in these organizations.

Salina: Look at the names of these places.

Salina: That's all you have to know to know.

Salina: There's probably some paperwork there.

Salina: So I think that is probably having to catch up with the changing landscape of the economy itself.

Salina: And it seems like it's probably a slow moving ship.

Salina: That is all my thoughts on it.

Salina: So take that with a grain of salt, please.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: So let's jump into the pros of unions.

Salina: So according to the AFL CIO, which we talked about earlier again, I'm not even going to go through what that means because Blickety blockity bloopity.

Salina: Bloop is what it sounds like to me.

Salina: Sorry.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: It's the largest federation of unions in the United States.

Salina: They claim that union workers earn higher wages, on average about 200 more a week than their nonunion counterparts.

Salina: They're more likely to have employer provided pensions and health insurance, safer working conditions that prevent death, illness, and injury, and better workplace and working conditions without fear of retaliation.

Salina: They also say that they advocate for things like flexible schedules, paid vacation, and wages and benefits that keep up with the cost of living.

Nikki: Sound like good things?

Salina: I mean, I'm not going to argue with any of those things.

Salina: I want them all just going to throw that out there as someone who.

Nikki: Doesn'T run a business and isn't worried about profits.

Nikki: That all sounds great.

Salina: Yes.

Salina: I will take it on the labor side twice.

Salina: If we could get down to that four day work week.

Salina: Also great, please.

Salina: So I ran across a Fox Business article.

Salina: To be clear, because it's Fox affiliated, it was both pros and cons.

Salina: But for this we're going to talk about the cons.

Salina: Now, union dues and initiation fees was number one on the list.

Salina: That article said that they can cost anywhere from 200 to several hundreds of dollars per year.

Salina: I want to say for the record that I spoke with someone who used to work for an airline.

Salina: They paid mandatory union dues.

Salina: It was 6% of their base salary.

Salina: That is more than a couple of $100.

Nikki: That's a lot.

Salina: I think so.

Salina: I don't know what their base salary was.

Nikki: 6% of anything is a lot.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: So I feel like that's an important thing to say because that feels very different than what the article was saying.

Salina: A member may not agree with every union decision, but they are bound to that decision.

Nikki: Oh, d***.

Salina: Another con.

Salina: Workers have reported it's a less collaborative work environment, so it can feel less like a partnership between the boss and the employee.

Salina: The political climate can turn against unions and you're in one.

Salina: So there's probably some disadvantage there.

Salina: The advantage of seniority can be detrimental to newer employees.

Salina: So I will tell you also that I had someone tell me that basically a company was deciding to let people go.

Salina: They were part of a union.

Salina: The reason they were let go is because of their start date.

Salina: It was just later.

Nikki: Oh, dang.

Salina: That's it.

Salina: So first in, first out.

Salina: It's great if you have seniority.

Salina: It sucks if you came in last.

Nikki: Right?

Salina: Okay.

Salina: For what it's worth, I will say that the article's parting thought is that workers are better off with unions than without one.

Salina: Just to give the full scope of that.

Salina: Another con, I cannot gloss over this because it is just part of the history, and that is organized criminal groups like the Mafia infiltrating influencing or even controlling labor unions through fear and intimidation of employers and unions members through threats and violence.

Salina: So it's prevalent enough, this happening, that the Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Gang Section has a dedicated labor management racketeering unit.

Nikki: Holy crap.

Nikki: It's prominent even today.

Salina: So I looked up something that said within the last few years, this unit worked with Detroit to charge and obtain guilty pleas from the Fiat Chrysler Association, also known as the FCA, officials of the FCA and the United auto Workers, or UAW union involving more than three and a half million in illegal payments and gifts from FCA to officials of the UAW.

Nikki: Blowing my mind.

Salina: So that was just in the last couple of years.

Salina: That's crazy.

Salina: What I wasn't able to glean from my research was, like, how frequently this has happened today.

Salina: My guess is that it happens, but not as much with the resources and attention that these crimes get.

Salina: We're past the days of Jimmy Hoffa.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: But obviously things are still happening or we wouldn't know about this.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: Let's talk about the south.

Salina: When you do that, pivot, there are only 5% of Southern workers who belong to a union.

Salina: That's half the national average.

Nikki: Wow.

Salina: And when you look at union membership between 2000 and 22,021, it actually fell by 13.5% in Southern states.

Salina: And that's versus 2.2% in states outside the south.

Nikki: Yikes.

Salina: Again, I just want to set up this disparity of how much less common it is here than in other parts of the country.

Salina: Here's something else.

Salina: Every single Southern state is a right to work state.

Salina: Did you know that?

Nikki: I did not know that, and I only recently learned what that means.

Salina: I didn't know that it was every single Southern state.

Salina: I do want to be clear that there are ten right to work states outside of the south, but it is really telling that every Southern state is a right to work state.

Salina: So I feel like that's something I just want to every Southern state.

Salina: So looking at the region's history really helps us to understand how we got here.

Salina: According to a Socalo essay that we'll link to, since the 1880s, the promise of cheap labor in the south has been used as a way to entice industrial employers to come here.

Salina: And unions were fought by the south on multiple levels, sometimes with brute force, by law enforcement.

Salina: Or, like, essentially these henchmen would be hired by businesses, and I think they would just, like, beat the crap out of people.

Nikki: God, that sounds like criminal or like, intimidate them.

Salina: It is definitely criminal behavior.

Salina: But it was also something that was happening through the discourse of politicians who tied labor unions to abolitionists of the 1850s and, quote, unquote, race mixing of the NAACP of the 1950s for context, because it's 2022.

Salina: Okay?

Salina: When I hear things like abolitionists in NAACP, I think, cool, what's the problem?

Salina: These sound like great things to me.

Salina: I'm guessing these were highly demonized groups, particularly among whites in the post Civil War South.

Salina: It wasn't just politicians.

Salina: It wasn't just law enforcement.

Salina: It was also community business leaders, editors, even the churches.

Salina: They were all fighting tooth and nail against unions.

Salina: It reads to me like community leaders in the south were leveraging the fear and mistrust southerners have for outsiders, especially during the Reconstruction era.

Salina: Well, here we go.

Salina: In the mid 1940s, there was actually a big push by unions to come in here and like to come in here.

Nikki: To come in here to our backyard.

Salina: Another war of Northern aggression.

Salina: Anyways, this was known as Operation Dixie, and they were going to organize the nonunion textile industry in the south.

Salina: I thought that was an interesting angle given that this episode of Designing Women is centered around textiles.

Nikki: Right, that's interesting.

Salina: But the operation was met with some pretty strong rhetoric and opposition.

Salina: Industrial union leadership were accused of being communist or communist leaning.

Salina: The other crushing blow the threat of desegregation in what was still the Jim Crow South.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: The unions were ultimately sent packing, and the textile industry in the region remained ununized excellent.

Salina: Almost simultaneously to Operation Dixie.

Salina: From 44 to 54 southern states put the weight of the law behind the anti union sentiment.

Salina: So this is when the right to work statutes come into play, outlawing the practice of requiring all employees of union represented plants to belong to the union are paid dues.

Salina: And frankly, I'd say the numbers bear it out.

Salina: It worked.

Salina: And this is kind of why policy matters.

Salina: That same Sokolo essay I was talking about earlier, they provided a really interesting example of what this looks like and how these policies play out with the modern backdrop.

Salina: So since 1980, there's been an onslaught of car manufacturers who've come specifically to the south.

Salina: That list includes Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, and Volkswagen.

Salina: And to quote Socalo, not a single production workforce at any of these heavily subsidized foreign auto plants has opted to join the United Auto Workers.

Salina: Some even basically said they can get away with things here that they can't back home or in other countries.

Nikki: Oh, dang.

Salina: So that's a really interesting article.

Salina: That's why I'm saying we'll link to things so that you can look at it and see and make heads or tails of things for yourself.

Salina: All right.

Salina: There's also an interesting union track blog outlining the reasons why organized labor has been such a tremendous failure in the south.

Salina: As the author mentions, it's political and it's social, but there were a few things that really stood out to me that feel worth talking about right now.

Salina: One is the legacy of Southern agriculture versus Northern industry that continues to influence Southern workers opinions of labor unions and organizations.

Salina: So this is deeply rooted in a time when Southerners saw this industrialization and this labor organization as a threat to their agricultural way of life.

Salina: There's also a history of politicians seizing power by exploiting racial tensions, as well as Southern employers taking advantage of racial divisions to pit workers against each other.

Nikki: Good Lord, everybody's bad everywhere.

Nikki: Oh, my gosh.

Salina: It was a really interesting read.

Salina: And then this one I've seen myself, and that's a pride that many Southerners, including those in leadership, have about being a quote unquote, union free zone.

Salina: So again, on balance, let's talk about the pros and cons of right to work states, because it's not all cons and it's not all pros.

Salina: There's a little bit of everything going on.

Salina: So the pros.

Salina: This is according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Salina: They claim right to work states, on average have greater after tax income in purchasing power than do those families living in non right to work states.

Salina: I just want to say that's a pretty high concept thing to share with people as, like, an advantage compared to, like, your wages are higher.

Nikki: Domestic product is above average.

Salina: You know what I'm saying?

Salina: Their argument is more like your dollar goes further.

Salina: So I don't know.

Salina: They also claim greater economic vitality in these states, pointing to Department of labor statistics that show faster growth in manufacturing and nonagricultural jobs, lower employment rates, and fewer work stoppages.

Salina: This, I would imagine, will be because fewer strikes because they fire you when you strike.

Salina: Right to work advocates argue that these laws give workers more flexibility to decide if they want to join a union or not.

Salina: And you could also argue you have more power over your own money because you're not paying these initiation fees and dues.

Salina: There was also a 2019 study in the Journal of Law and Economics that found workers reported greater life satisfaction after their state became a right to work state.

Salina: They looked at several different explanations for this, but the most likely seem to be that right to work laws improve employer employee relationships and encourage unions to better serve their members.

Salina: Here's the cons.

Salina: So basically, they're the pros of unions.

Salina: So you have lower wages, fewer benefits.

Salina: And while there are some federal protections, it's easier for nonunion members to be fired at any time and just about for any reason, according to fairy god boss.

Salina: Look, guys, it was really hard to find it was really hard to find information sometimes.

Salina: Some argue that right to work laws make American businesses less competitive globally because they're forced to compete with low wage countries.

Salina: And if you're pro union, then these laws prevent unions from collecting funds that support themselves in campaigns, and they diminish union power.

Salina: And obviously you don't want your union to have less power if you are pro union, right?

Salina: So finally, I just have to say as I was going through these pros and cons and trying to come up with something that's objective that I found it really annoying that both AFL CIO and the Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation are really terrible about citing their sources.

Salina: Be better, y'all.

Salina: Be better.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: If you're claiming statistics and you're citing studies and then I can't link to them, I find you to be an untrustworthy source.

Salina: So I'm just saying.

Salina: I will also say that it was easier for me to confirm AFL's claims than it was for me to confirm the Right to Work stuff.

Salina: So stop looking so fishy.

Salina: So, like, so many things that we cover in extra sugar, this is decidedly complicated.

Salina: And it's no wonder there's a strong cultural element to one's view on labor.

Salina: It's something that gets wrapped up in a person's identity.

Salina: Like, even I have heard people say, like, I'm a union man.

Salina: It's like written into a person's personhood.

Salina: How they feel is steeped in their relationship to social issues as well as swayed by politics.

Salina: Not to mention we're talking about people's livelihoods.

Salina: As I mentioned towards the beginning, that is literally serious business for me personally, I think I'm still figuring it out, but I'm always going to take pause when anyone or anything that has that you're either with us or you're against us mentality.

Salina: I'm already going to question you because as you and I have discussed before, that whole black and white thing feels like a really false dichotomy.

Salina: There's a lot of gray in there, and I want to explore the gray.

Salina: It's not surprising for the respective camps to be subjective, but where are the objective groups on labor?

Salina: Everything felt very divisive.

Salina: And if that's the case, are workers really getting the objective information they need to make an informed decision?

Salina: And my takeaway is either they're not getting that information or it's really flipping hard.

Salina: And can you tell me where you are finding it?

Salina: Wherever you sit and whether you're for unions or you're not, there's no denying that labor policies matter.

Salina: They directly affect us every single day.

Salina: And for better or worse, they have helped to shape our workforce, our economy, and the quality of life for many.

Salina: And they're going to continue to do.

Salina: So, what's behind every policy?

Salina: Oh, a politician.

Salina: And funnily enough, their influence kept popping up in my research over and over and over and over again, sometimes helping workers, but also many times hurting them.

Salina: The recurring theme self interest over that of the people they represent.

Salina: And party over progress.

Salina: No side of the aisle was without fault.

Salina: So as the people they represent scratch and fight for every nickel and dime.

Salina: We should ask ourselves, what benefits do our representatives have?

Salina: And how does that square with what we have?

Salina: According to a 2020 open the book oversight report, regular congress members earn $174,000 a year.

Salina: They hold a taxpayer funded pension after five years of service, and the US.

Salina: House spent a whopping 4.3 million on overseas travel in 2019 alone.

Salina: Talk about living high on the hog.

Salina: They have a special pin.

Salina: And this pin gets members around the lines.

Salina: The license plate, which allows free parking and sometimes in illegal zones.

Salina: 72% subsidize health insurance, a $25 per month onsite Capitol Hill, gym membership with a swimming pool, sauna steam room, and paddle ball.

Salina: There is an onsite beauty salon and member dedicated subway to shuffle members around the Hill.

Salina: They've exempted themselves from certain federal laws.

Salina: The freedom of information act safety and health investigatory subpoenas protections against retaliation for whistleblowers.

Salina: And there's also a dedicated settlement fund to get them out of hot water administered through the office of Compliance.

Salina: So, if you hear that list th and your benefits don't feel similar, perhaps that's why a topic why, like, labor matters who is fighting for you?

Salina: What are they fighting for?

Salina: So, whether you're in the south, north, east, or west, make sure you know.

Salina: And whoever you back, whatever you back, make sure they're supporting you, too.

Salina: And that's this week's extra sugar.


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