The Harrah’s hotel and casino sits on the river between Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa – so that gambling doesn’t technically take place on Midwestern soil. I wasn’t there to gamble but to give the keynote address to a gathering of a couple hundred meatpackers. In particular these were union organizers for poultry, pork and beef plants from around the country.
Normally, this kind of task would fall to Axel or Joe, but neither of them were available, so I had taken the morning flight out of Providence. Axel had warned me that I’d need to be the opposite of professorial for this crowd, so I’d left my suit jacket and black shoes at home, and cleansed the powerpoint presentation of its pretentious phrases.