Automation is 'rapidly becoming a curse to this society,' AFL-
CIO president George Meany told the labor federations'
annual convention in 1963. The substitution of machinery
for manpower was threatening to unions, blurring long-
established jurisdictional lines and raising bargaining costs
by reducing the number of workers in a plant, and displace-
ment could be devastating to workers. Many workers in the
1960's lacked basic reading and mathematical skills, and
education levels were low enough to make retraining
problematic: half of U.S. factory production workers had no
more that a tenth-grade education.
Excerpted from Marc Levinson's book, The Box: How the
Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World