How We Got HereHow We Got Here

Tens of millions of Americans are out of work. Tens of millions more are being asked to do essential jobs right now without a significant increase to pay, benefits, or protections. Even before the pandemic, workers were struggling. They were working long hours, multiple jobs, and taking on debt just to survive. Covid-19 has just exposed how precarious people are in this country. This is the story of how we got here.

This project began as an attempt by KQED reporter Sam Harnett to answer very simple questions for workers: why their benefits are so bad, why their pay is so low, why their unions are so weak, and how come there are so few options for meaningful, empowering work. The series turned into an investigation of the attack on American workers that began as soon as they won some power in the 1930s after the Great Depression.

The series is three-hours long, sound-rich, and filled with history, theory, and reporting from the present day.

How We Got Here, Part 5: Meaningful Work

How We Got Here, Part 4: Disempowerment and Debt

How We Got Here, Part 3: The Road to Shareholder Capitalism

How We Got Here, Part 2: The Attack on Worker Power

How We Got Here, Part 1: The 'Great Risk Shift' From Companies To Workers