Against Labor highlights the tenacious efforts by employers to organize themselves as a class to contest labor. Ranging across a spectrum of understudied issues, essayists explore employer anti-labor strategies and offer incisive portraits of people and organizations that aggressively opposed unions. Other contributors examine the anti-labor movement against a backdrop of larger forces, such as the intersection of race and ethnicity with anti-labor activity, and anti-unionism in the context of neoliberalism. Timely and revealing, Against Labor deepens our understanding of management history and employer activism and their metamorphic effects on workplace and society. Contributors: Michael Dennis, Elizabeth Esch, Rosemary Feurer, Dolores E. Janiewski, Thomas A. Klug, Chad Pearson, Peter Rachleff, David Roediger, Howard Stanger, and Robert Woodrum.
Even before the 1889 baseball season began, battle lines had been drawn, revels this history of 19th-century baseball. In the National League, The Players Brotherhood, led by New York Giants shortstop John Montgomery Ward, challenged the insulting classification system devised by league owners. While American Association players had no brotherhood, they proved capable of organizing impromptu responses to abusive treatment by owners. Owners battled with their players and yet struggled to control overflow crowds on weekends and holidays as both major leagues staged the closest, most exciting pennant races to that time. Americans responded by pouring into ballparks in record-setting numbers.
A unique account of labor relations in the modern Chinese economy, Beyond the Iron Rice Bowl brings together more than thirty in-depth case studies of key multinational, Chinese, and overseas Chinese enterprises in the automotive, electronic, and garment industries. Analyzing the regimes of production and their segmentations in the context of global and national production networks, the authors discuss Chinese and international industrial relations theory and labor sociology and explore the perspectives of collective bargaining, trade union reform, and democratic workplace representation in China.
By early April 1914, Colorado Governor Elias Ammons thought the violence in his state’s strike-bound southern coal district had eased enough that he could begin withdrawing the Colorado National Guard, deployed six months earlier as military occupiers. But Ammons misread the signals, and on April 20, 1914, a full-scale battle erupted between the remaining militiamen and armed strikers living in a tent colony at the small railroad town of Ludlow. Eight men were killed in the fighting, which culminated in the burning of the colony. The next day, the bodies of two women and eleven children were found suffocated in a below-ground shelter. The “Ludlow Massacre,” as it quickly became known, launched a national call-to-arms for union supporters to join a ten-day guerrilla war along more than two hundred miles of the eastern Rockies. The convulsion of arson and violence killed more than thirty people and didn’t end until President Woodrow Wilson sent in the U.S. Army. Overall at least seventy-five men, women, and children were killed in seven months, likely the nation’s deadliest labor struggle.
In Blood Passion, journalist Scott Martelle explores this little-noted tale of political corruption and repression and immigrants’ struggles against dominant social codes of race, ethnicity, and class. More than a simple labor dispute, the events surrounding Ludlow embraced some of the most volatile social movements of the early twentieth century, pitting labor activists, socialists, and anarchists against the era’s powerful business class, including John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and helped give rise to the modern twins of corporate public relations and political “spin.” But at its heart, Blood Passion is the dramatic story of small lives merging into a movement for change and of the human struggle for freedom and dignity.
The Wagner Act of 1935 (later the Wagner-Taft-Hartley Act of 1947) was intended to democratize vast numbers of American workplaces: the federal government was to encourage worker organization and the substitution of collective bargaining for employers' unilateral determination of vital work-place matters. Yet this system of industrial democracy was never realized; the promise was "broken." In this rare inside look at the process of government regulation over the last forty-five years, James A. Gross analyzes why the promise of the policy was never fulfilled. Gross looks at how the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) policy-making has been influenced by the President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, public opinion, resistance by organized employers, the political and economic strategies of organized labor, and the ideological dispositions of NLRB appointees. This book provides the historical perspective needed for a reevaluation of national labor policy. It delineates where we are now, how we got here, and what fundamental questions must be addressed if policy-makers are to make changes consistent with the underlying principles of democracy.
The Changing Nature of Work
Edited by Frank Ackerman, Neva R. Goodwin, Laurie Dougherty, and Kevin Gallagher; Foreword by Robert Reich Island Press, 1998 Library of Congress HD4901.C427 1998 | Dewey Decimal 331
Human impacts on the environment are largely driven by economic forces. If a more ecologically sustainable world is to be achieved, significant changes must be made to the current growth- and consumption-dependent economic system. The Frontier Issues in Economic Thought series was designed to assist the growing number of economists and others who are responding to the need for new thinking about economics in the face of environmental and social forces that are reshaping the world.The Changing Nature of Work examines the causes and effects of the rapid transformation of the world of work. It provides concise summaries of the key writings on work and workplace issues, extending the frontiers of labor economics to include the often overlooked social and psychological dimensions of work.The book begins with a foreword by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich that presents labor in contemporary perspective. An introductory overview provides a brief history of the changing nature of work and situates current problems in the context of longer-term developments. Following that are eight topical sections that feature three- to five-page summaries for each of the ten to twelve most important articles or book chapters on a subject.Sections cover.new directions in labor economics social and psychological dimensions of work and unemployment globalization and labor new technologies and organizational change flexibility and internal labor markets new patterns of industrial relations family, gender, paid and unpaid work difference and diversity in the workplaceThe book provides a roadmap for scholars on the vast and diverse literature concerning labor issues, and affords students a quick overview of that rapidly changing field. It is an important contribution to the series and is a valuable book for anyone interested in labor, as well as for students and scholars of labor economics, industrial sociology, industrial relations, social psychology, and their respective disciplines.
Milwaukeeans greeted the advent of World War II with the same determination as other Americans. Everyone felt the effect of the war, whether through concern for loved ones in danger, longer work hours, consumer shortages, or participation in war service organizations and drives. Men and women workers produced the essential goods necessary for victory—the vehicles, weapons, munitions, and components for all the machinery of war. But even in wartime there were labor conflicts, fueled by the sacrifices and tensions of wartime life. A City at War focuses on the experience of working men and women in a community that was not a wartime boom town. It looks at the stands of the CIO and the AFL against low wartime wages, and at women in unionized factories facing the perceptions and goals of male workers, union leaders, and society itself. Here is a social history of wartime Milwaukee and its workers as they laid the groundwork for a secure postwar future.
This book offers a view of shifts in labour relations in various parts of the world over a breathtaking span, from 1500 to 2000, with a particular emphasis on colonial institutions. How did growing demand for colonial commodities affect labour in the Global South? How did colonial interference with land and labour markets affect developments in labour relations? And what were the effects of the introduction of colonial currencies? The contributors to this volume answer those questions and more, combining global perspectives with impressively detailed case studies.
Finding a job used to be simple. You’d show up at an office and ask for an application. A friend would mention a job in their department. Or you’d see an ad in a newspaper and send in your cover letter. Maybe you’d call the company a week later to check in, but the basic approach was easy. And once you got a job, you would stay—often for decades.
Now . . . well, it’s complicated. If you want to have a shot at a good job, you need to have a robust profile on LinkdIn. And an enticing personal brand. Or something like that—contemporary how-to books tend to offer contradictory advice. But they agree on one thing: in today’s economy, you can’t just be an employee looking to get hired—you have to market yourself as a business, one that can help another business achieve its goals.
That’s a radical transformation in how we think about work and employment, says Ilana Gershon. And with Down and Out in the New Economy, she digs deep into that change and what it means, not just for job seekers, but for businesses and our very culture. In telling her story, Gershon covers all parts of the employment spectrum: she interviews hiring managers about how they assess candidates; attends personal branding seminars; talks with managers at companies around the United States to suss out regional differences—like how Silicon Valley firms look askance at the lengthier employment tenures of applicants from the Midwest. And she finds that not everything has changed: though the technological trappings may be glitzier, in a lot of cases, who you know remains more important than what you know.
Throughout, Gershon keeps her eye on bigger questions, interested not in what lessons job-seekers can take—though there are plenty of those here—but on what it means to consider yourself a business. What does that blurring of personal and vocational lives do to our sense of our selves, the economy, our communities? Though it’s often dressed up in the language of liberation, is this approach actually disempowering workers at the expense of corporations?
Rich in the voices of people deeply involved with all parts of the employment process, Down and Out in the New Economy offers a snapshot of the quest for work today—and a pointed analysis of its larger meaning.
Private sector unionism is in decline in the United States. As a result, labor advocates, community groups, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals concerned with the well-being of workers have sought to develop alternative ways to represent workers' interests. Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century provides the first in-depth assessment of how effectively labor market institutions are responding to this drastically altered landscape.
This important volume provides case studies of new labor market institutions and new directions for existing institutions. The contributors examine the behavior and impact of new organizations that have formed to solve workplace problems and to bolster the position of workers. They also document how unions employ new strategies to maintain their role in the economic system. While non-union institutions are unlikely to fill the gap left by the decline of unions, the findings suggest that emerging groups and unions might together improve some dimensions of worker well-being. Emerging Labor Market Institutions is the story of workers and institutions in flux, searching for ways to represent labor in the new century.
With England’s Great Transformation, Marc W. Steinberg throws a wrench into our understanding of the English Industrial Revolution, largely revising the thesis at heart of Karl Polanyi’s landmark The Great Transformation. The conventional wisdom has been that in the nineteenth century, England quickly moved toward a modern labor market where workers were free to shift from employer to employer in response to market signals. Expanding on recent historical research, Steinberg finds to the contrary that labor contracts, centered on insidious master-servant laws, allowed employers and legal institutions to work in tandem to keep employees in line.
Building his argument on three case studies—the Hanley pottery industry, Hull fisheries, and Redditch needlemakers—Steinberg employs both local and national analyses to emphasize the ways in which these master-servant laws allowed employers to use the criminal prosecutions of workers to maintain control of their labor force. Steinberg provides a fresh perspective on the dynamics of labor control and class power, integrating the complex pathways of Marxism, historical institutionalism, and feminism, and giving readers a subtle yet revelatory new understanding of workplace control and power during England’s Industrial Revolution.
The Fissured Workplace
David Weil Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HD8066.W44 2014 | Dewey Decimal 331.20973
In the twentieth century, large companies employing many workers formed the bedrock of the U.S. economy. Today, on the list of big business's priorities, sustaining the employer-worker relationship ranks far below building a devoted customer base and delivering value to investors. As David Weil's groundbreaking analysis shows, large corporations have shed their role as direct employers of the people responsible for their products, in favor of outsourcing work to small companies that compete fiercely with one another. The result has been declining wages, eroding benefits, inadequate health and safety protections, and ever-widening income inequality.
From the perspectives of CEOs and investors, fissuring--splitting off functions that were once managed internally--has been phenomenally successful. Despite giving up direct control to subcontractors and franchises, these large companies have figured out how to maintain the quality of brand-name products and services, without the cost of maintaining an expensive workforce. But from the perspective of workers, this strategy has meant stagnation in wages and benefits and a lower standard of living. Weil proposes ways to modernize regulatory policies so that employers can meet their obligations to workers while allowing companies to keep the beneficial aspects of this business strategy.
Although many books have been written about the economic impact of globalization on Europe, none has focused exclusively on the pharmaceutical industry. To fill this gap in scholarship, Globalization and Industrial Relations offers a full account of how open markets have affected drug companies, their employees, and consumers alike.
Using the examples of Germany and the United Kingdom as case studies, this volume uses a careful theoretical background and broad empirical analysis to evaluate the current state of industrial relations in the pharmaceutical industry. Globalisation and Industrial Relations addresses how companies in the pharmaceutical industry deal with the challenges from globalization in respect to collective bargaining and workplace representation. A complete analysis of industrial relations in the drug manufacturing industry in a changing world, this volume also forecasts different trajectories for the systems of industrial relations in Germany and the United Kingdom.
Good Jobs America
Paul Osterman Russell Sage Foundation, 2012 Library of Congress HD5724.O764 2011 | Dewey Decimal 331.10973
America confronts a jobs crisis that has two faces. The first is obvious when we read the newspapers or talk with our friends and neighbors: there are simply not enough jobs to go around. The second jobs crisis is more subtle but no less serious: far too many jobs fall below the standard that most Americans would consider decent work. A quarter of working adults are trapped in jobs that do not provide living wages, health insurance, or much hope of upward mobility. The problem spans all races and ethnic groups and includes both native-born Americans and immigrants. But Good Jobs America provides examples from industries ranging from food services and retail to manufacturing and hospitals to demonstrate that bad jobs can be made into good ones. Paul Osterman and Beth Shulman make a rigorous argument that by enacting policies to help employers improve job quality we can create better jobs, and futures, for all workers. Good Jobs America dispels several myths about low-wage work and job quality. The book demonstrates that mobility out of the low-wage market is a chimera—far too many adults remain trapped in poor-quality jobs. Osterman and Shulman show that while education and training are important, policies aimed at improving earnings equality are essential to lifting workers out of poverty. The book also demolishes the myth that such policies would slow economic growth. The experiences of countries such as France, Germany, and the Netherlands, show that it is possible to mandate higher job standards while remaining competitive in international markets. Good Jobs America shows that both government and the firms that hire low-wage workers have important roles to play in improving the quality of low-wage jobs. Enforcement agencies might bolster the effectiveness of existing regulations by exerting pressure on parent companies, enabling effects to trickle down to the subsidiaries and sub-contractors where low-wage jobs are located. States like New York have already demonstrated that involving community and advocacy groups—such as immigrant rights organizations, social services agencies, and unions—in the enforcement process helps decrease workplace violations. And since better jobs reduce turnover and improve performance, career ladder programs within firms help create positions employees can aspire to. But in order for ladder programs to work, firms must also provide higher rungs—the career advancement opportunities workers need to get ahead. Low-wage employment occupies a significant share of the American labor market, but most of these jobs offer little and lead nowhere. Good Jobs America reappraises what we know about job quality and low-wage employment and makes a powerful argument for our obligation to help the most vulnerable workers. A core principle of U.S. society is that good jobs be made accessible to all. This book proposes that such a goal is possible if we are committed to realizing it.
After the 1925 discovery of diamonds in the semi-desert of the northwest coast of South Africa, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. virtually proclaimed its dominion over the whole region. In the town of Kleinzee, the company owns all the real estate and infrastructure, and controls and administers both the town and the industry.
Peter Carstens's In the Company of Diamonds draws a stark and startling portrait of this closed community, one that analyzes the power and hegemonic techniques used to acquire that power and maintain it.
As a prototypical company town, Kleinzee is subordinated to the industry and will of the owners. Employees and workers are variously differentiated and ordered according to occupation, ethnic variation, and other social criteria, a pattern reflected most markedly in the allocation of housing. Managers live in large, ranch-style houses, while contract workers are lodged in single-sex compounds.
As a community type, company towns like Kleinzee are not entirely unique, and Professor Carstens successfully draws a number of structural parallels with other closed and incomplete social formations such as Indian reservations, military bases, colleges, prisons, and mental hospitals.
These nine essays by a prominent scholar in American labor history self-consciously evoke the tensions between the worker as historical subject and the historian as outside observer. Encompassing studies of labor culture, strategy, and movement building from the late nineteenth century to the present, In Search of the Working Class also connects the trials of the early labor economists to the conceptual challenges facing today's academic practitioners.
"Fink places American labor history in the broader context of American political historiography better than any other historian I can think of." -- James R. Barrett, author of Work and Community in the Jungle: Chicago's Packinghouse Workers, 1894-1922
The two defining moments of Western coalfield labor relations have been massacres: Wyoming's Rock Springs Massacre of 1885 and Colorado's Ludlow Massacre of 1914. But it wasn't just the company guns that were responsible for the deaths of 28 Chinese coal miners and 13 women and children. It was the result of racial tensions and the economics of the coal industry itself.
In Industrializing the Rockies, David A. Wolff places these deadly conflicts and strikes in the context of the Western coal industry from its inception in 1868 to the age of maturity in the early twentieth century. The result is the first book-length study of the emergence of coalfield labor relations and a general overview of the role of coal mining in the American West.
Wolff examines the coal companies and the owners' initial motivations for investment and how these motivations changed over time. He documents the move from speculation to stability in the commodities market, and how this was reflected in the development of companies and company towns.
Industrializing the Rockies also examines the workers and their workplaces: how the miners and laborers struggled to maintain mining as a craft and how the workforce changed, ethnically and racially, eventually leading to the emergence of a strong national union. Wolff shines light on the business of coal mining detailing the market and economic forces that influenced companies and deeply affected the lives of the workers.
Ronald Schatz tells the story of the team of young economists and lawyers whom George W. Taylor recruited to the National War Labor Board to resolve union-management conflicts during the Second World War. The crew (including Clark Kerr, John Dunlop, Jean McKelvey, and Marvin Miller) exerted broad influence on the U.S. economy and society for the next forty years. They handled thousands of grievances and strikes. They founded academic industrial relations programs. When the 1960s student movement erupted, universities appointed them as top administrators charged with quelling the conflicts. In the 1970s, they developed systems that advanced public sector unionization and revolutionized employment conditions in Major League Baseball.
Schatz argues that the Labor Board vets, who saw themselves as disinterested technocrats, were in truth utopian reformers aiming to transform the world. Beginning in the 1970s stagflation era, they faced unforeseen opposition, and the cooperative relationships they had fostered withered. Yet their protégé George Shultz used mediation techniques learned from his mentors to assist in the integration of Southern public schools, institute affirmative action in industry, and conduct Cold War negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Wisconsin’s workers and their leaders have always been in the vanguard of those concerned with social justice, fair labor practices, humane working conditions, and political equality. Professor Ozanne’s book, based upon years of research in newspapers, manuscripts, and the archives of both labor and management, provides a broad overview of an important chapter in Wisconsin history.
This book examines the main challenges facing the world labor force and possible responses from trade unions.
The working classes across the world are feeling the effects of globalization and the race to the bottom that it encourages. Core jobs for workers in the developed world are being outsourced to countries where pay and conditions are terrible and union membership is often forbidden. Much of the work of the world economy is now taking place in a burgeoning informal sector, making worldwide organization of labor very difficult.
Case studies from 11 different countries, including China, Germany, Canada and South Africa, illustrate what is happening and show how workers and trade unions can successfully adapt to the neoliberal world.
Exploring globalization from a labor history perspective, Aviva Chomsky provides historically grounded analyses of migration, labor-management collaboration, and the mobility of capital. She illuminates the dynamics of these movements through case studies set mostly in New England and Colombia. Taken together, the case studies offer an intricate portrait of two regions, their industries and workers, and the myriad links between them over the long twentieth century, as well as a new way to conceptualize globalization as a long-term process.
Chomsky examines labor and management at two early-twentieth-century Massachusetts factories: one that transformed the global textile industry by exporting looms around the world, and another that was the site of a model program of labor-management collaboration in the 1920s. She follows the path of the textile industry from New England, first to the U.S. South, and then to Puerto Rico, Japan, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Colombia. She considers how towns in Rhode Island and Massachusetts began to import Colombian workers as they struggled to keep their remaining textile factories going. Most of the workers eventually landed in service jobs: cleaning houses, caring for elders, washing dishes.
Focusing on Colombia between the 1960s and the present, Chomsky looks at the Urabá banana export region, where violence against organized labor has been particularly acute, and, through a discussion of the AFL-CIO’s activities in Colombia, she explores the thorny question of U.S. union involvement in foreign policy. In the 1980s, two U.S. coal mining companies began to shift their operations to Colombia, where they opened two of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world. Chomsky assesses how different groups, especially labor unions in both countries, were affected. Linked Labor Histories suggests that economic integration among regions often exacerbates regional inequalities rather than ameliorating them.
The book, written as a doctoral thesis, examines the development of the personnel function in labour organisations. Starting from a history of personnel management in the Netherlands during the second half of the 20th century, it analyses the structural transformation in the societal-economic environment from which originate far-reaching changes in employee relations. The transformation from the post-war model of guided capitalism towards its neo-liberal variety has serious consequences for intra-organisational power relations which result in a one-sided articulation of interests. This erodes the moral fabric of the labour organisation as a social institution. In this context special attention is paid to the wide-spread erosion of corporate ethics in the 21st century. The intensification of the labour process - a consistent phenomenon in industrial capitalism has got a new impulse, due to the lack of countervailing power within an eroding system of labour relations as well as to superior production techniques and technologies. These tendencies have a deteriorating effect on the substance of the personnel discipline, ending up in a loss of function.
Making Common Sense of Japan
Steven R. Reed University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993 Library of Congress HD8726.5.R44 1993 | Dewey Decimal 331.0952
Common misconceptions about Japan begin with the notion that it is a “small” country (it's actually lager than Great Britain, Germany or Italy) and end with pronouncements that the Japanese think differently and have different values-they do things differently because that's the way they are.
Steven Reed takes on the task of demystifying Japanese culture and behavior. Through examples that are familiar to an American audience and his own personal encounters with the Japanese, he argues that the apparent oddity of Japanese behavior flows quite naturally from certain objective conditions that are different from those in the United States.
Mystical allegations about national character are less useful for understanding a foreign culture than a close look at specific situations and conditions. Two aspects of the Japanese economy have particularly baffled Americans: that Japanese workers have “permanent employment” and that the Japanese government cooperates with big business. Reed explains these phenomena in common sense terms. He shows how they developed historically, why they continue, and why they helped produce economic growth. He concludes that these practices are not as different from what happens in the United States as they may appear.
Since the 1930s, industrial sociologists have tried to answer the question, Why do workers not work harder? Michael Burawoy spent ten months as a machine operator in a Chicago factory trying to answer different but equally important questions: Why do workers work as hard as they do? Why do workers routinely consent to their own exploitation?
Manufacturing Consent, the result of Burawoy's research, combines rich ethnographical description with an original Marxist theory of the capitalist labor process. Manufacturing Consent is unique among studies of this kind because Burawoy has been able to analyze his own experiences in relation to those of Donald Roy, who studied the same factory thirty years earlier. Burawoy traces the technical, political, and ideological changes in factory life to the transformations of the market relations of the plant (it is now part of a multinational corporation) and to broader movements, since World War II, in industrial relations.
As companies increasingly look to the global market for capital, cheaper commodities and labor, and lower production costs, the impact on Mexican and American workers and labor unions is significant. National boundaries and the laws of governments that regulate social relations between laborers and management are less relevant in the era of globalization, rendering ineffective the traditional union strategies of pressuring the state for reform.
Focusing especially on the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (the first international labor agreement linked to an international trade agreement), Norman Caulfield notes the waning political influence of trade unions and their disunity and divergence on crucial issues such as labor migration and workers' rights. Comparing the labor movement's fortunes in the 1970s with its current weakened condition, Caulfield notes the parallel decline in the United States' hegemonic influence in an increasingly globalized economy. As a result, organized labor has been transformed from organizations that once pressured management and the state for worker concessions to organizations that now request that workers concede wages, pensions, and health benefits to remain competitive in the global marketplace.
China’s leaders aspire to the prosperity, political legitimacy, and stability that flowed from America’s New Deal, but they are irrevocably opposed to the independent trade unions and mass mobilization that brought it about. Cynthia Estlund’s crisp comparative analysis makes China’s labor unrest and reform legible to Western readers.
After the 1854 abolition of slavery in Peru, a new generation of plantation owners turned to a system of peasant tenantry to maintain cotton production through the use of cheap labor. In Peasants on Plantations Vincent C. Peloso analyzes the changing social and economic relationships governing the production of cotton in the Pisco Valley, a little-studied area of Peru’s south coast. Challenging widely held assumptions about the system of relations that tied peasants to the land, Peloso’s work examines the interdependence of the planters, managers, and peasants—and the various strategies used by peasants in their struggle to resist control by the owners.
Grounded in the theoretical perspectives of subaltern studies and drawing on an extremely complete archive of landed estates that includes detailed regular reports by plantation managers on all aspects of farming life, Peasants on Plantations reveals the intricate ways peasants, managers, and owners manipulated each other to benefit their own interests. As Peloso demonstrates, rather than a simple case of domination of the peasants by the owners, both parties realized that negotiation was the key to successful growth, often with the result that peasants cooperated with plantation growth strategies in order to participate in a market economy. Long-term contracts gave tenants and sharecroppers many opportunities to make farming choices, to assert claims on the land, compete among themselves, and participate in plantation expansion. At the same time, owners strove to keep the peasants in debt and well aware of who maintained ultimate control.
Peasants on Plantations offers a largely untold view of the monumental struggle between planters and peasants that was fundamental in shaping the agrarian history of Peru. It will interest those engaged in Latin American studies, anthropology, and peasant and agrarian studies.
In Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950 Rosemary Feurer examines the fierce battles between Midwestern electrical workers and bitterly anti-union electrical and metal industry companies during the 1930s and 40s. Organized as District 8 of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE) and led by open Communist William Sentner, workers developed a style of unionism designed to confront corporate power and to be a force for social transformation in their community and nation.
Feurer studies District 8 through a long lens, establishing early twentieth century contexts for these conflicts. Exploring the role of radicals in local movement formation, Feurer argues for a "civic" unionism that could connect community and union concerns to build solidarity and contest the political economy. District 8's spirited unionism included plant occupations in St. Louis and Iowa, campaigns to democratize economic planning, and local strategies for national bargaining that were depicted as a Communist conspiracy by a corporate influenced Congressional committee in Evansville, Indiana. District 8 was destroyed through reactionary networks and the anti-Communist backlash of the mid-twentieth century, but Feurer argues that its history tells another side of the labor movement’s formation in the 1930s and ‘40s, and can inform current struggles against corporate power in the modern global economy.
Rainbow at Midnight details the origins and evolution of working-class strategies for independence during and after World War II. Arguing that the 1940s may well have been the most revolutionary decade in U.S. history, George Lipsitz combines popular culture, politics, economics, and history to show how war mobilization transformed the working class and how that transformation brought issues of race, gender, and democracy to the forefront of American political culture. This book is a substantially revised and expanded work developed from the author's heralded 1981 Class and Culture in Cold War America.
In response to the tragedy of the Ludlow Massacre, John D. Rockefeller Jr. introduced one of the nation’s first employee representation plans (ERPs) to the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company in 1915. With the advice of William Mackenzie King, who would go on to become prime minister of Canada, the plan—which came to be known as the Rockefeller Plan—was in use until 1942 and became the model for ERPs all over the world.In Representation and Rebellion Jonathan Rees uses a variety of primary sources—including records recently discovered at the company’s former headquarters in Pueblo, Colorado—to tell the story of the Rockefeller Plan and those who lived under it, as well as to detail its various successes and failures. Taken as a whole, the history of the Rockefeller Plan is not the story of ceaseless oppression and stifled militancy that its critics might imagine, but it is also not the story of the creation of a paternalist panacea for labor unrest that Rockefeller hoped it would be.Addressing key issues of how this early twentieth-century experiment fared from 1915 to 1942, Rees argues that the Rockefeller Plan was a limited but temporarily effective alternative to independent unionism in the wake of the Ludlow Massacre. The book will appeal to business and labor historians, political scientists, and sociologists, as well as those studying labor and industrial relations.
When Steven Burd, CEO of the supermarket chain Safeway, cut wages and benefits, starting a five-month strike by 59,000 unionized workers, he was confident he would win. But where traditional labor action failed, a novel approach was more successful. With the aid of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, a $300 billion pension fund, workers led a shareholder revolt that unseated three of Burd’s boardroom allies.
In The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor's Last Best Weapon, David Webber uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on labor’s most potent remaining weapon: its multitrillion-dollar pension funds. Outmaneuvered at the bargaining table and under constant assault in Washington, state houses, and the courts, worker organizations are beginning to exercise muscle through markets. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters. He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.
The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder is a rare good-news story for American workers, an opportunity hiding in plain sight. Combining legal rigor with inspiring narratives of labor victory, Webber shows how workers can wield their own capital to reclaim their strength.
The post-World War II years in the United States were marked by the business community's efforts to discredit New Deal liberalism and undermine the power and legitimacy of organized labor. In Selling Free Enterprise, Elizabeth Fones-Wolf describes how conservative business leaders strove to reorient workers away from their loyalties to organized labor and government, teaching that prosperity could be achieved through reliance on individual initiative, increased productivity, and the protection of personal liberty.
Based on research in a wide variety of business and labor sources, this detailed account shows how business permeated every aspect of American life, including factories, schools, churches, and community institutions.
A term specifically found in European politics, social concertation refers to cooperation between trade unions, governments and employers in public policy-making. Social Concertation in Times of Austerity investigates the political underpinnings of social concertation in the context of European integration. Alexandre Afonso focuses on the regulation of labor mobility and unemployment protection in Austria and Switzerland, two of Europe’s most prosperous countries, and he looks at nonpartisan policymaking as a strategy for compromise. With this smart, new study, Afonso powerfully enters the debate on the need for a shared social agenda in post-crisis Western Europe.
Organized labor has played a critical role in political transition away from authoritarianism in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Buchanan views the institutional networks where these new governments strive to maintain democracy, focusing on the role of national labor administrations.
This book argues that because democratic capitalist regimes are founded on a state-mediated class compromise, institutionalizing labor relations is a major concern. Institutions that foster equitable labor-management bargaining are at the foundation of workers' acquiescence to bourgeois rule.
Gerald G. Eggert provides a fascinating inside view of top steel officials arguing their positions on various labor reforms—stock purchase plans, employer liability, employee representation, and elimination of the twelve-hour shift and seven-day work week, during the late eighteen and early nineteenth century.
America searched for an answer to "The Labor Question" during the Progressive Era in an effort to avoid the unrest and violence that flared so often in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In the ladies' garment industry, a unique experiment in industrial democracy brought together labor, management, and the public. As Richard Greenwald explains, it was an attempt to "square free market capitalism with ideals of democracy to provide a fair and just workplace." Led by Louis Brandeis, this group negotiated the "Protocols of Peace." But in the midst of this experiment, 146 mostly young, immigrant women died in the Triangle Factory Fire of 1911. As a result of the fire, a second, interrelated experiment, New York's Factory Investigating Commission (FIC)—led by Robert Wagner and Al Smith—created one of the largest reform successes of the period. The Triangle Fire, the Protocols of Peace, and Industrial Democracy in Progressive Era New York uses these linked episodes to show the increasing interdependence of labor, industry, and the state. Greenwald explains how the Protocols and the FIC best illustrate the transformation of industrial democracy and the struggle for political and economic justice.
Chile was the first major Latin American nation to carry out a complete neoliberal transformation. Its policies—encouraging foreign investment, privatizing public sector companies and services, lowering trade barriers, reducing the size of the state, and embracing the market as a regulator of both the economy and society—produced an economic boom that some have hailed as a “miracle” to be emulated by other Latin American countries. But how have Chile’s millions of workers, whose hard labor and long hours have made the miracle possible, fared under this program? Through empirically grounded historical case studies, this volume examines the human underside of the Chilean economy over the past three decades, delineating the harsh inequities that persist in spite of growth, low inflation, and some decrease in poverty and unemployment.
Implemented in the 1970s at the point of the bayonet and in the shadow of the torture chamber, the neoliberal policies of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship reversed many of the gains in wages, benefits, and working conditions that Chile’s workers had won during decades of struggle and triggered a severe economic crisis. Later refined and softened, Pinochet’s neoliberal model began, finally, to promote economic growth in the mid-1980s, and it was maintained by the center-left governments that followed the restoration of democracy in 1990. Yet, despite significant increases in worker productivity, real wages stagnated, the expected restoration of labor rights faltered, and gaps in income distribution continued to widen. To shed light on this history and these ongoing problems, the contributors look at industries long part of the Chilean economy—including textiles and copper—and industries that have expanded more recently—including fishing, forestry, and agriculture. They not only show how neoliberalism has affected Chile’s labor force in general but also how it has damaged the environment and imposed special burdens on women. Painting a sobering picture of the two Chiles—one increasingly rich, the other still mired in poverty—these essays suggest that the Chilean miracle may not be as miraculous as it seems. Contributors. Paul Drake Volker Frank Thomas Klubock Rachel Schurman Joel Stillerman Heidi Tinsman Peter Winn
From Chinese factories making cheap toys for export, to sweatshops in Bangladesh where name-brand garments are sewn—studies on the impact of globalization on workers have tended to focus on the worst jobs and the worst conditions. But in When Good Jobs Go Bad, Jeffrey Rothstein looks at the impact of globalization on a major industry—the North American auto industry—to reveal that globalization has had a deleterious effect on even the most valued of blue-collar jobs.
Rothstein argues that the consolidation of the Mexican and U.S.-Canadian auto industries, the expanding number of foreign automakers in North America, and the spread of lean production have all undermined organized labor and harmed workers. Focusing on three General Motors plants assembling SUVs—an older plant in Janesville, Wisconsin; a newer and more viable plant in Arlington, Texas; and a “greenfield site” (a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility) in Silao, Mexico—When Good Jobs Go Bad shows how global competition has made nonstop, monotonous, standardized routines crucial for the survival of a plant, and it explains why workers and their local unions struggle to resist. For instance, in the United States, General Motors forced workers to accept intensified labor by threatening to close plants, which led local unions to adopt “keep the plant open” as their main goal. At its new factory in Silao, GM had hand-picked the union—one opposed to strikes and committed to labor-management cooperation—before it hired the first worker.
Rothstein’s engaging comparative analysis, which incorporates the viewpoints of workers, union officials, and management, sheds new light on labor’s loss of bargaining power in recent decades, and highlights the negative impact of globalization on all jobs, both good and bad, from the sweatshop to the assembly line.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Saar river valley was one of the three most productive heavy industrial regions in Germany and one of the main reference points for national debates over the organization of work in large-scale industry. Among Germany's leading opponents of trade unions, Saar employers were revered for their system of factory organization, which was both authoritarian and paternalistic, stressing discipline and punitive measures and seeking to regulate behavior on and off the job. In its repressive and beneficent dimensions, the Saar system provided a model for state labor and welfare policy during much of the 1880s and 1890s.
Dennis Sweeney examines the relationship between labor relations in heavy industry and public life in the Saar as a means of tracing some of the wider political-ideological changes of the era. Focusing on the changing discourses, representations, and institutions that gave shape and meaning to factory work and labor conflict in the Saar, Work, Race, and the Emergence of Radical Right Corporatism in Imperial Germany demonstrates the ways in which Saar factory culture and labor relations were constituted in wider fields of public discourse and anchored in the institutions of the local-regional public sphere and the German state. Of particular importance is the gradual transition in the Saar from a paternalistic workplace to a corporatist factory regime, a change that brought with it an authoritarian vision that ultimately converged with core elements in the ideological discourses of the German radical Right, including the National Socialists. This volume will be of interest to scholars and students of labor, industrial organization, ideology and political culture, and the genealogies of Nazism.
Dennis Sweeney is Associate Professor of History at the University of Alberta.
"The author makes a very insightful argument about the emergence of a kind of scientific racism within the new corporatism, one that brings biopolitics into German industry prior to the rise of National Socialism. This book will be an important contribution to the history of Imperial Germany, and has much potential to appeal to audiences in other fields of history."
---Andrew Zimmerman, George Washington University
Challenging the claim that workers supported Stalin's revolution "from above" as well as the assumption that working-class opposition to a workers' state was impossible, Jeffrey Rossman shows how a crucial segment of the Soviet population opposed the authorities during the critical industrializing period of the First Five-Year Plan.