January Talk Labor

Today’s show had some technical difficulties. Decided to post the script, and links to various materials and songs.  Enjoy.
This is Talk Labor with Frau Fiber, streaming Kchung.org, 1870 am


Ewan MacColl Fourpence a day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_88IotgM8U  1.15

Stewart Cameron – The Grinding Machine 3.56 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQmWwm93iw


Labor report

At the conclusion of 2016, the U.S. labor market is in its best shape since the recession, with nearly every measure of the market at its most favorable level.

Favorable for whom?

At the same time, economic confidence? has improved slightly in recent years,

people are holding on to their money, and not shopping, but they are not sewing either. 

Concerns about the job market are widespread, and not just among Trump’s voters who want to bring back manufacturing jobs

hope they realize they might be getting third world wages to bring those jobs back

and we will watch the gig economy grow

and thus the end of work as we know it, no more benefits or paid holidays.

With the sustained and continued recovery, why do job-market worries persist?

Because the jobs are low pay? And the cost of living continues to rise?

The labor department says, recent data isn’t as good as it first appears. Plus, the overall U.S. numbers hide big differences across industries, regions, and demographic groups, some of whom are faring badly.

No surprise there let’s hide the bad news, but people living on minimum wage know what’s going on.

And finally, now that the labor market is far from the acute crisis of the recession, the market’s chronic conditions are easier to see and perhaps more possible to address.  Are

Chronic conditions under employeed collage graduates earning minium wage, or the unemployed who have left the work force entirely?

On the up side, thanks to years of job growth, the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6%—its lowest level since August 2007.

People are working in the gig economy 12 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week, to make just make the rent.

BUT payroll growth was much lower in 2016 than 2015,

which means workers are not getting raises.

Let’s reflect the job report and compare it to your own employment situation, how much do you have in your pocket, are you paying your bills, and is there anything left in bank? Or under the bed? It’s time to start drafting those letters, making those phone calls to Mr. Andrew Puzder, the next labor secretary, and let him know what you think.  His address is: and phone number:



Bus boys Minium wage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caEMj01XPCE  3.23

They might be giants, everything right is wrong again 2.20  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH21QovdhZs&index=16&list=RD4zNoxjUUyec

Fifth Harmony Work from home 3.39 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GL9JoH4Sws


Textile news

California has more than its share of official symbols: the state mineral is gold, it’s animal is the grizzly bear, and its state fossil the saber-toothed cat.

The California State Assembly added one more item to this list by passing a bill declaring denim its new state fabric. Sponsored by Democratic assembly member Marc Levine, the bill lays out a clear rationale for the declaration, starting with a definition of denim: “Denim is a sturdy cotton twill fabric [whose] history is interwoven with Californias history from the 1850s through today,” The bill suggests that it’s designed to celebrate the state’s cotton farmers, its textile producers, and its garment manufacturers.

The bill’s number, A.B. 501, betrays its true honoree: Levi Strauss. California is declaring Levi’s its state company, one of California’s iconic institutions, which no longer makes clothes in the Golden State—and it never sourced its denim here.  California’s history with denim is very real, but the fabric isn’t really a part of the state’s present, despite its growing micro-industry of high-end jeans.  1.56

Denim Consider the source 12.32 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAKAe-GhA70

Neil Diamond Forever in blue jeans 3.31 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdX81S4iWmo&list=PL0msuI7SJDFd-hG78LZ-IOMA98dTha35d

American Eagle Denim song 2.43 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1K0OHW8OJ8

Denim: the music video 5.00 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZcBzTdUlYM


Looking back    

On this day in 1912 in the dead of a Massachusetts winter, the great Lawrence Textile Strike began—commonly referred to as the “Bread and Roses” strike. Accounts differ as to whether a woman striker actually held a sign that read “We Want Bread and We Want Roses.” No matter where it came from It’s a wonderful phrase, as appropriate for the Lawrence strikers and for the Los Angeles Garment Workers today: the notion that, in addition basic necessities, people should have “a sharing of life’s glories,” as James Oppenheim put it in his poem “Bread and Roses.”

Though over 100 years have passed, the Lawrence strike resonates as one of the most important in the history of the United States. Like many labor conflicts of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the strike was marked by obscene disparities in wealth and power, open collusion between the state and business owners, large scale violence against unarmed strikers, and great ingenuity and solidarity on the part of workers. In important ways the strike was also unique. It was the first large-scale industrial strike, and overwhelming a majority of the strikers were immigrants, women and children, and the strike was guided in large part by the revolutionary strategy and vision of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Beyond its historical significance, elements of this massive textile strike may be instructive to building a much needed radical working class movement today. Some philosophical and strategic characteristics of the stike we can refer to are: direct action, the prominent role of women, the centrality of class, participatory decision-making, egalitarianism, an authentic belief in the Wobbly principle that We Are All Leaders.


Joan Baez, bread and roses 2.40 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWkVcaAGCi0

Jack White – Sittin on top of the world 3.44 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXeT7zYkZAM&list=PL7B57E6B1D4B1D3E7


Sponsorship Talk Labor is sponsored ILGWU Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms, 322 Elm Ave. LB

January events 

Mend America:

Presented by MADE by Millworks, and the Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms January 6-February 4, 2017.   Mend America is an occupation that animates the my Mend America Pledge by “crafting spaces where all people are welcome”. The exhibition features work by my me the Faux Fraus, Lauren Becker, Elise Bernal, Krista Feld, Steven Front, Judith Moman, and special guests.  This gathering of textile objects, installations, and “Peace Werk* Events”, tie together ideas of mending, self-care, volunteerism, home, and memory. Making space for, collaborating, engaging, conversation, and remaining vigilant and responsive citizens in this post-fact Trump environment.


Mend America Inauguration day activities:  Mend America official communication.   In the wake of the election and inauguration of President Trump, I will instigate a four-year campaign of producing patches and writing letters to government officials, stating her growing concerns for America.  You are invited to come and make your own patches and stating your concerns.  Political Theory with Faux Frau Jam.   FF Jam has a long history as a performance artists, including a stint as a licensed attorney for the state of Massachusetts.  The last hour of inauguration day activities Faux Frau Jam will share some of America’s past political Brouhahas and discuss a few pieces of our political machinery that hold opportunities for resilience and resistance.

Friday, January 20, 12- 6 pm


Sewing Rebellion   Good not Goods the Sewing Rebellion is committed to providing equipment and knowledge to make do and mend, this year the Sewing Rebellion will look back at the history of labor and protest, as a model for how to be vigilant participants today.   In January, participates will also learn practical applications for making body banners, so you can wear your voice.

Saturday January 14, 12-4 pm The Center 

Sunday January 15, 5-9 pm ILGWU

SR Brunch @ Thank You For Coming Saturday Jan 28, 11 am – 3 pm

If you are interested in becoming a FF and starting your own SR email me @ Fraufiber@gmail.com


Eco Sessions  EcoSessions : Innovations in Textiles

January 12, 2017

7:00 – 9:00 pm (PST)

This EcoSessions will gather leaders in the latest in ‘smart textiles’ to discuss how technology, innovation and socially responsible approaches can foster a more sustainable future in the fashion industry. Tickets are $20 for general and $10 for students. https://innovations-textiles-la.eventbrite.com


Malvina Reynolds, I don’t mind failing 4.31 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ60n_-BK6Q

Nina Samone, Ain’t got no, I got life 4.07  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5jI9I03q8E

Phil Oachs love me I’m a liberal 4.40 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw


Talk Labor with Frau Fiber episode 2

Episode 2 Dirty and Dangerous aired Wednesday Dec 14, 4-5 pm.  KChung program archive here  go to Dec 14, then Talk Labor with Frau Fiber. 



This episode featured Garment Workers Center Report on the Health and Saftey in Los Angeles’ Fashion Industry.  View the report  dirtythreads  

Recorded live sewing was sponsored by the Sewing Rebellion –Stop Shopping and Start Sewing, to find a SR location near you go to http://Sewingrebellion.wordpress.com

I used a 1954 Singer 185 J – institutional green color, which was once used for home economics classes.  Donated by Kathleen Smith Los Angeles.

I made mitered corner finishing for napkins.  This technique can also be used for  table runners / table cloths. The benefit of mitering the corners is to reduce bulk, and create a flat seam.



























Pledge to Mend America

Pledge to Mend America

I pledge my life to mending America by being a watchful and vigilant community member; peacefully and firmly fighting racism, sexism, and oppression; crafting spaces where all people are welcome; to continue to create change through calls to actions, skill sharing, sewing, and mending; and to persistently persevere in spite of the seemingly futility of it all.

Frau Fiber
11 November 2016


Talk Labor with Frau Fiber

A monthly radio broadcast on KChung  This program hosted by Frau Fiber is bricolage of live and recorded songs of labor and protest, labor reports, the state of working class people in America, factory tours, interviews and sewing machine sounds.  

Launch on Wednesday Nov. 9, 4-5 pm PST 


Halloween Costume Manifesto

Download PDF Version and Post halloween-costume-manifesto

Humanity has adopted fast fashion into its Halloween Celebration.  Purchasing billions of pounds of textiles per year for animal and human costume.

Halloween straddles the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death.  Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It may have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear handmade costumes from what they had on hand to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs, we know it as All Saints’ Day.  The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.  Today, Halloween is a secular, consumer and capitalistic event where American’s spend 67 billion dollars on disposable clothing, which ends up in the bottoms of their closets, in the landfills and shipped to developing countries.


Frau Fiber wants to abolish:

  1. The production and consumption of fast fashion Halloween costumes.
  2. All of the chemicals used to make disposable Halloween costume flame retardant.
  3. All millions of yards of polyester used to make disposable Halloween costumes.
  4. All of the pounds of plastic used to make accessories for disposable Halloween costumes.
  5. All of the under paid labor used to make disposable Halloween costumes.
  6. All of the characters which promote gender norms and stereotypes worn at Halloween.


Frau Fiber wants to liberate Americans from every aspect of Halloween consumption, and reclaim it as a community event, shared with neighbors and friends wearing handmade costumes, and eating handmade goodies.

Halloween attire will therefore be:

  1. Made from old clothing found in your closet, thrift stores or swap.
  2. Over dyed with onion skins, beets, avocados, and other naturally sourced materials.
  3. Hand stitched, with yarn, thread or dental floss.
  4. Create self-proclaimed characters which have never been seen before.
  5. Express personal humor, satire, and fear.
  6. Made with friends and family members, taking the time to exchange their leisure time for personal and community production.


In the spirit of practicing the manifesto, Sewing Rebellions in Long Beach and Colorado will host events, encouraging the upcycling and making of Halloween hoodies.  Using old unwanted hoodies and fabric scraps to make wearables in celebration of the Halloween Season.





It’s not CRAFTA it’s NAFTA on the Knoll

In an attempt to understand global trade agreements, Frau Fiber  brought together, fellow makers on the Penland campus for a reading and labor song-sing-along.


Frau’s Formal statement was read as follows:

The process of barter brings a people together.

New ideas, along with precious goods have always travelled along trade routes. And the natural the shared rhythm of a community, has frequently been the space between market days.  When travel is slow and dangerous, the commodities must be imperishable; and they must have valuable in relation to their size.  Historically commodities such as spices, textiles and precious ornaments of iron, bronze, copper, silver and gold were the good of trade.

Trade has occurred over land, river and sea.

The silk road, linked Asia and Western Europe; Caravans traversed the middle east; the Mediterranean provided a ferry system shuttling goods between India and the Greek islands.  The Romans, Vikings, French, British and Americans, all participated in the trade of slaves, to provide their civilizations with a workforce.

Today the World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

Today’s trade agreements are contractual arrangements between states.  They consist of Bilateral or multilateral, between two states or more than two states.  Trade is regulated by unilateral barriers of several types; tariffs, nontariff, quotas and prohibitions.  Trade agreements reduce these barriers, there by opening all parties to the benefits of increased trade.

In 1974 The Multi-Fiber Agreement was instituted.  The Agreement was welcomed by many countries for setting targets for increased trade through slightly higher agreed minimum growth rates and more progressive liberalization of textile trade.

The MFA’s first years of existence saw the conclusion of a significant number of ‘bilaterals’, mainly between the US and Europe.  Over the ensuing years, the time-bound MFA was renewed on various occasions, notably in 1977, 1981 and 1986. MFA was terminated in 2004.

The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) heralded the much-anticipated beginning of the formal process for the removal of global quotas on textiles and clothing. As a WTO Agreement, it was binding on all its member states, although it would soon become clear that the practical implementation of the Agreement sometimes lagged behind its theoretical prescriptions. The inherent flexibility of the Agreement, provided countries with substantial leeway in the actual implementation and interpretation of its clauses.

The TMB an 11-member quasi-judicial textile monitoring body appointed by WTO member countries, was established to supervise compliance with the provisions of the ATC. The TMB was system representation from various geographical regions: Europe, United States, Canada and Norway, Korea and Hong Kong, India, Egypt/Morocco/Tunisia, Japan, Turkey, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Latin American and Caribbean, Pakistan and China.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA is a three-country accord negotiated by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States that entered into force in January 1994. NAFTA’s terms, which were implemented gradually through January 2008, provided for the elimination of most tariffs on products traded among the three countries. Liberalization of trade in agriculture, textiles, and automobile manufacturing was a major focus. The deal sought to protect intellectual property, establish dispute-resolution mechanisms, and, through side agreements, implement labor and environmental safeguards.

NAFTA fundamentally reshaped North American economic relations, driving an unprecedented integration between Canada and the United States’ developed economies and Mexico, a developing country. NAFTA enjoyed bipartisan backing—it was negotiated by Republican President George H.W. Bush and passed through Congress and implemented under Democratic President Bill Clinton. It encouraged a more than tripling of regional trade, and Cross-border investment between the three countries also grew significantly. Yet NAFTA has remained a perennial target in the broader debate over free trade, largely because it is accused by some as leading to a shift in production, and jobs, to Mexico.

When negotiations for NAFTA began in 1991, the goal for all three countries was the integration of Mexico with the highly developed, high-wage economies of the United States and Canada. The hope was that freer trade would bring stronger and steadier economic growth to Mexico, providing new jobs and opportunities for its growing workforce and discouraging illegal migration from Mexico. For the United States and Canada, Mexico was seen both as a promising new market for exports and as a lower cost investment location that could enhance the competitiveness of U.S. and Canadian companies. NAFTA ushered in a new era of regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), which have proliferated as the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) global trade talks have stagnated. The United States now has FTAs with twenty countries.  NAFTA also pioneered the incorporation of labor and environmental provisions in U.S. trade agreements.

Economists largely agree that NAFTA has provided benefits to the North American economies. Regional trade increased sharply over the treaty’s first two decades, from roughly $290 billion in 1993 to more than $1.1 trillion in 2016. Debate persists regarding NAFTA’s legacy on employment and wages, with some workers and industries facing painful disruptions as they lose market share due to increased competition, and others gaining from the new market opportunities that were created.

Critics of the deal, however, argue that it is to blame for job losses and wage stagnation in the United States, and a widening trade deficit.  This surge of imports caused the loss of up to 600,000 U.S. jobs over two decades, though they admit that some of this import growth would likely have happened even without NAFTA.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) TPP is a deal between the U.S., Canada, and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region that’s been under negotiation for nearly a decade. It is a new, high-standard trade agreement that levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses, supporting more Made-in-America exports and higher-paying American jobs. By eliminating over 18,000 taxes—in the form of tariffs—that various countries put on Made-in-America products, TPP makes sure our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small businesses can compete—and win! With more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders, TPP will significantly expand the export of Made-in-America goods and services and support American jobs.


TPP is expected to:

  • TPP Eliminates over 18,000 Different Taxes on Made-in-America Exports
  • TPP Includes the Strongest Worker Protections of Any Trade Agreement in History
  • TPP Includes the Strongest Environmental Protections of Any Trade Agreement in History
  • TPP Helps Small Businesses Benefit from Global Trade
  • TPP Promotes E-Commerce, Protects Digital Freedom, and Preserves an Open Internet
  • TPP Levels the Playing Field for U.S. Workers by Disciplining State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)
  • TPP Prioritizes Good Governance and Fighting Corruption
  • TPP Includes First Ever Development Chapter
  • TPP Capitalizes on America’s Position as the World Leader in Services Exports

Time will tell……

We have heard from the voice of economist and the US government, now  we will hear our voices and the voices of labor with a sing – a- long.


Hard Times – Ryan Bingham

When I was young my daddy said, Son
Never be ashamed of where your from
There’s nothin wrong with your last name
Don’t be lookin for people to blame

Cause hard times they come and they go
Most of the time they’re in the middle of the road
It’s the same pain in different ways
Don’t your know, Son, when it pours it rains


Hard times
In the middle of your road
Hard times
Creepin up on the good folks you know
Hard times
You daddy wakes up and you lit the stove
Hard times
From the California hills to the Coverdale Road

You got yours and I have mine
Mostly good folks have tried and tried
To make a livin on your minimum wage
Your coming up short nearly every day

And what’s enough and what’s the cost
You can’t stand up cause all is lost
You roll us up and your doors are locked
There’s a poor boy livin on every block


When I was young my daddy said, Son
Never be ashamed of where your from
There’s nothin wrong with your last name
So don’t be lookin for people to blame

Cause hard times they come and they go
And most of the time they’re in the middle of your road
It’s the same pain, different way
Don’t your know when it pours it rains

And it’ll always be around
Followin you from town to town
But you can get up when it puts you down
Cause everybody’s got ’em if you look around



Ain’t No More Cane

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Oh, oh, oh, oh…
Its all been ground down to molasses
Oh, oh- oh, oh- oh…

You shoulda been on the river in 1910
They were driving the women just like they drove the men.

Go down old hannah, don’cha rise no more
Don’t you rise up til judgment day’s for sure

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Its all been ground down to molasses

Captain, don’t you do me like you done poor old shine
Well ya drove that bully til he went stone blind

Wake up on a lifetime, hold up your own head
Well you may get a pardon and then you might drop dead

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Its all been ground down to molasses.


Joe Hill

A song by Alfred Hayes, Music by Earl Robinson©1938 by Bob Miller, Inc.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you’re ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he

In Salt Lake, Joe, says I to him
Him standing by my bed
They framed you on a murder charge
Says Joe, But I ain’t dead
Says Joe, But I ain’t dead

The copper bosses killed you, Joe
They shot you, Joe, says I
Takes more than guns to kill a man
Says Joe, I didn’t die
Says Joe, I didn’t die

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Joe says, What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize
Went on to organize

Joe Hill ain’t dead, he says to me
Joe Hill ain’t never died
Where working men are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side
Joe Hill is at their side

From San Diego up to Maine
In every mine and mill
Where workers strike and organize
Says he, You’ll find Joe Hill
Says he, You’ll find Joe Hill

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you’re ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he