The Richard Nixon Foundation and the National Archives co-presented a Nixon Legacy Forum in Washington Monday. The subject was the Nixon Administration’s relationship with organized labor, and how they sought a just and more equitable workplace, while balancing the need for economic growth and employment for all Americans seeking work.
The panel was comprised of Nixon era labor officials including William J. Kilberg, former Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor; Michael Moskow, senior staff economist on the Nixon White House Council of Economic Advisers; and Judge Laurence Silberman, also Solicitor and later Undersecretary of Labor. Ann McLaughlin Korologos, President Reagan’s Secretary of Labor, served as moderator.
During his remarks, Kilberg discussed the long term impact of the 37th President’s labor policy and how – through greater government advocacy for workers – it led to organized labor’s decline in influence over American politics.
“There was an open relationship with organized labor which represented a more substantial part of the private workforce then than it does now,” Kilberg said. “Nevertheless the AFL- CIO remained neutral in the 1972 race and Nixon garnered significant blue collar support. Indeed, the so called Reagan Democrats were originally a creation of Richard Nixon.“
Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie (left to right): Michael Mokcow, William Kilberg, Ann McLaughlin Korologos, and Judge Laurence Silberman.