The 42 Month War: Bayou Steel and the USWA's Coordinated Campaign
This thesis examines how coordinated campaigns, conducted by labor organizations, affect strike outcomes. Recent changes in the industrial relations environment have forced unions to find new ways to exert pressure on employers beyond tradition collective bargaining and, in the event of impasse, withholding their labor. Many believe that corporate campaigns have the potential to change the ways labor struggles are waged and their results. These campaigns are characterized by diversity, but past ones have included actions targeted at the company?s owners, creditors, customers, and suppliers. Others have focused on the firm?s health, safety, or environmental record with the hope of compelling them to sign a favorable contract. This thesis examines the literature available on bargaining and strikes, includes brief case studies of several corporate campaigns and the USWA?s experiences with them, and forms an argument based on the evidence. It is proposed that a well-planned corporate campaign will lead to union victories in strikes or lockouts. The evidence used to test this statement is a detailed case study of the Steelworkers? 42 month coordinated campaign at Bayou Steel. This thesis finds that although the union waged an almost ideal campaign, they did not win the strike. Instead, it was only a partial victory. This is attributed to the fact that the USWA?s campaign, while extensive, was unable to influence the company's ability to make money to the necessary degree.
Dr. Lowell Turner - Committee Chairperson Dr. Ileen Devault - Committee Member
Union; Steel Minimill; USWA; Steelworkers; Bayou Steel; Labor
dissertation or thesis