Biographical / Historical
In August 1958, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, William F. Schnitzler, announced the production of a weekly television series entitled Americans at Work. Originally, the AFL-CIO intended to produce 52 films to run weekly for one year. The popularity of the series persuaded the AFL-CIO to extend the project by an additional 52 films. The films were produced for public service programming in order to showcase the value of people in industry during a period revolutionized by mechanized production.
The AFL-CIO Public Relations Department, led by director Albert J. Zack and assistant director Robert J. Wentworth, primarily coordinated the production and distribution of Americans at Work. Two AFL-CIO staff members hired at the onset of the project were Milton Murray, television coordinator, and George Craig, television field director. Production was contracted to Norwood Studios, Inc. of Washington, DC, which was founded and managed by Phillip M. Martin.
At the time it was produced, Americans at Work was compared to an ongoing film series, Industry on Parade, produced by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) beginning in 1950. In comparing the two series, George Meany indicated that whereas the NAM focused on machines, the AFL-CIO focused on people.