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Labor Research Review, Volume 1, Number 02 (1983)

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Labor Research Review, Volume 1, Number 2 (1983).

The Crisis in Steel: Jobs, Profits, Communities


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Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
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    Lackawanna & Johnstown: Shutdowns, Steel Towns and the Union
    Metzgar, Jack (1983)
    [Excerpt] On December 27, 1982, Bethlehem announced that it was all over for Lackawanna. Ironically, this was greeted with a sigh of relief in Johnstown. Ever since 1965 when Bethlehem built a multi-billion dollar greenfield plant at Burns Harbor, Indiana, people in Johnstown had thought their days were numbered. Many of them held Lackawanna in such awe that they couldn't imagine that the nation's second largest steel producer would abandon it, especially because for a decade Bethlehem has been threatening to leave Johnstown instead.
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    Concessions Rejected
    Inland Steel, East Chicago, Indiana, USWA Local 1010 Steelworker (1983)
    [Excerpt] On November 19, steelworkers came within 90 votes of making giveaways worth as much as $6 billion dollars to the basic steel industry. By a vote of 231-141 the Presidents who make up the Basic Steel Industry Conference rejected a unanimous recommendation from the International Executive Board to grant the biggest package of concessions in the history of the American labor movement.
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    Job Combinations and Speed-up in Steel
    Bensman, David (1983)
    [Excerpt] The Rail Mill Manning Agreement at South works in not unique. Reducing labor costs by combining jobs is a key part of the steel companies' strategy for regaining profitability. MCLR has conducted a survey of five other mills to find out what the companies are doing to reduce the work force, and speed up work. We print here a summary of our preliminary findings.
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    The End of Affirmative Action? Work Rule Concessions at South Works
    Alexander, Steve (1983)
    [Excerpt] The recent Rail Mill Manning Agreement between U.S. Steel South Works and Local 65 of the United Steelworkers of America changed both the local and Basic Labor Agreements. This paper will demonstrate the adverse effect that this Agreement will have on minorities and women.
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    Concessions at South Works: What Price a Rail Mill?
    Bensman, David (1983)
    [Excerpt] Things are grim in South Chicago. Two years ago, Wisconsin Steel went bankrupt, leaving 4,000 steelworkers without jobs, pension plans, and their last paycheck. Then Pullman Standard closed, after United Steelworkers of America District Director Jack Parton's frantic efforts to save the plant failed. U.S. Steel's South Works itself is down to a crew of 950, one-seventh its size of two years ago. And the Republic Steel mill, scene of the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937, is down from 5,300 to less than 3,000 employees.
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    Some Notes on Labor Costs
    Rosenberg, Sam; Dubois, Tom (1983)
    [Excerpt] In the past year the steel companies have mounted a tremendous publicity campaign to get the public to believe that labor costs are at the root of the industry's problems. No aspect of the companies' argument is trickier than their presentation of "the facts" on this subject. It has taken MCLR a while to disentangle the facts from the tortured interpretations put on them by the companies, interpretations which have been thoughtlessly repeated by the media. We are preparing a comprehensive analysis of labor costs and productivity in the steel industry for the next issue of Labor Research Review. In the meantime, we present here some brief notes on some of the companies' tricks.
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    Comment on Jobs and Profits in Steel
    Shattuck, Dennis (1983)
    [Excerpt]As Tom DuBois and Jack Metzgar point out in their articles, the American steelworker is approaching an important crossroads. In the next decade, the enormous changes the steel industry started in the late seventies will continue at a greater pace. How steelworkers and their union will respond to these developments is still unclear, but already it has caused a major rejection by the local union presidents of a contract supported by the entire International Executive Board. This division over the direction of the union is not likely to disappear soon.
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    Would Wage Concessions Help the Steel Industry?
    Metzgar, Jack (1983)
    [Excerpt]The American steel industry is dying. 150,000 steelworkers are laid off, and thousands of them will never work in steel again. The steel companies will report losses of some $2 billion for 1982, and Wall Street analysts predict— advocate—that as much as 20 per cent of the industry's primary capacity will be eliminated. The loss of steel jobs threatens more than a dozen local and regional economies with decades of Depression-like conditions. And the worst is not likely to be over soon. Even though most people recognize that the primary cause of this situation is the misguided and mean-spirited policies of the Reagan administration, public opinion seems to have accepted a simple logic: If the industry is in such trouble, steelworkers should help it by granting concessions on wages and work rules.
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    Steel: Past the Crossroads
    DuBois, Tom (1983)
    [Excerpt] A majority of the 154,532 steelworkers who are presently laid off will never go back to work. They will be shut out of the steel industry because the steel companies have a new game plan. They plan to increase profits in such a way that they will not need to employ many steelworkers. In an effort to raise the price of steel and reduce labor costs, the steel companies will continue to cut down steel capacity, shut down old mills and departments and introduce labor-displacing technology. Unless public pressure forces the government to step in and change this game plan, the steel industry, steelworkers, and steel communities will never be the same—even with an upturn in the economy.