The Steelworkers' Victory and the Revival of American Labor
Over the past two decades, Americans have seen their workplaces downsized and streamlined, their jobs out-sourced, sped up, and, all too often, eliminated. Unions have seemed powerless to defend their members, with big defeats in the strikes at PATCO, Eastern Airlines, International Paper, and Hormel. Ravenswood recounts how the United Steelworkers of America, in a battle waged over an aluminum plant in West Virginia, proved that organized labor can still win—even against a company controlled by one of the world's richest and most powerful men. Fast paced and compellingly written, the book provides an insider's look at the new tactics that many hope will revitalize the struggle for workers' rights in America.
On November 1, 1990, just as its contract with the United Steelworkers of America was about to expire, Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation locked out its seventeen hundred employees and hired permanent replacements. Despite deteriorating conditions that had led to five deaths in the previous year, the company had refused to discuss safety and health issues. The locked-out workers faced an industry in turmoil, a plant manager with a grudge against the union, and a business controlled by a billionaire fugitive from justice. Tom Juravich and Kate Bronfenbrenner describe how victory was achieved through the commitment of the workers and their families coupled with one of the most innovative contract campaigns ever waged by an American union.