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Labor Research Review, Volume 1, Number 01 (1982)

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Labor Research Review, Volume 1, Number 1 (1982).

Labor Community Unity: The Morse Strike Against Disinvestment and Concessions


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    Interview With Janet Saglio
    [Excerpt] Janet Saglio is head of the Business Department at the Industrial Cooperative Association (ICA) based in Somerville, Mass. The ICA works with union locals that are: a) considering an employee buy-out, or b) seeking an independent study of a corporation's business strategy. The primary purpose of the ICA is to assist worker-owned businesses, helping them become worker controlled through democratic systems of ownership, decision making and accountability. The ICA is therefore often called upon by union locals to assess the feasibility of employees buying a factory threatened by a shut-down...and always recommends against a buy-out if the business has been badly run down.
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    Investment & Strategy at Morse Cutting Tool
    Industrial Cooperative Association (ICA) (1982-09-01)
    [Excerpt] Local #277 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America contracted with the ICA for a preliminary assessment of the long term viability of Morse Cutting Tools. The union had become alarmed by declining employment at Morse and by Morse management's statements regarding the company's inadequate profitability and shrinking market share. Of even greater concern was the threat that the conglomerate which owns Morse, Gulf+Western (G+W), might close the New Bedford plant. We were asked to examine Morse's position in the cutting tool business with particular attention to the adequacy of G+W's investment in plant and equipment and of Morse's management strategy.
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    Gulf + Western: A Model of Conglomerate Disinvestment
    Harrison, Bennett (1982-09-01)
    [Excerpt] Historically, the great majority of businesses in this industry have been small, and locally (often family) owned. Sometimes a skilled machinist leaves one firm to set up a new one, with a small bank loan and help from family savings. Some of these locally-owned companies are incorporated, for tax purposes, but the mode of management is essentially the same: personal (even paternalistic) and usually relatively informal. All across the United States, during the late 1960s, there was a wave of conglomerate acquisitions of precisely the most successful of these previously independent or small corporate operations. Giants like Gulf+Western, Textron, Genesco, Litton and a hundred others sent buyers into areas like New England and made offers that those small business owners could not refuse. Every sector of the economy was affected: not only metalworking, but also apparel, shoes, department stores, hotels. In the years following the acquisition, a definite pattern emerged.
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    UE Local 277's Strike at Morse Cutting Tool
    Swinney, Dan (1982-09-01)
    [Excerpt] In the Spring of 1982, a small local union took on a conglomerate giant and won. What initially appeared as a battle over concessions at Morse Cutting Tool, a subsidiary of Gulf+Western in New Bedford, Massachusetts, became a broad-based community/labor fight against the rights of capital. Careful research by the Industrial Cooperative Association (ICA) documented G+W's disinvestment and kept the company on the defensive for the strike's thirteen-week duration. The victory of United Electrical Workers Union Local 277 showed that imaginative leadership and militant unionists can overcome corporate power even in the midst of a new depression. This strike deserves close study by all those interested in the labor movement.