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Duquesne and the Rise of Steel Unionism

by James D. Rose

  • ISBN: 9780252026607
  • ISBN10: 0252026608

Duquesne and the Rise of Steel Unionism

by James D. Rose

  • List Price: $54.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780252026607
  • ISBN10: 0252026608
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Description: Focusing on the steel works at Duquesne, Pennsylvania, James D. Rose demonstrates the pivotal role played by a nonunion form of employee representation usually dismissed as a flimsy front for management interests.The early New Deal set in motion two versions of workplace representation that battled for supremacy: company-sponsored employee representation plans (ERPs) and independent trade unionism. At Duquesne, the cause of the unskilled, hourly workers, mostly blacks and eastern and southern Europeans, was taken up by the union. For skilled tonnage workers and skilled tradesmen, mainly U.S.-born and of northern and western European extraction, ERPs offered a better solution.Initially little more than a crude antiunion device, ERPs matured from tools of the company into semi-independent, worker-led organizations. Isolated from the union movement through the mid-1930s, ERP representatives and management nonetheless created a sophisticated bargaining structure that represented the shop-floor interests of the mill's skilled workforce. Meanwhile, the Amalgamated gave way to the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, which expended huge resources trying to gain companywide unionization. Even when the SWOC secured a collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Steel in 1937, however, the union was still unable to sign up a majority of the workforce at Duquesne.A sophisticated study of the forces that shaped and responded to workers' interests, Duquesne and the Rise of Steel Unionism confirms that what people did on the shop floor was as critical to the course of steel unionism as were corporate decision making and shifts in government policy.
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