The Uses of Power I: Industrial Battleground

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1. During the late 1940s and 50s, the unionized labor achieved state recognition of its workers.  John Maurice Clark, an economist, noted that the formation of the labor union gave workers a formidable force that shifted the government to a laboristic community from the capitalistic one (Brody, 174). They became a power in the land. In 1945, the meeting between the organization of businesses and labor movements set the basis for guaranteeing laborers peace accompanied with equal justice in solving industrial issues. They received better remunerations and better working conditions. The union also renegotiated with the industrial management about reviewing salary structures for workers in each field of employment. However, the union failed to guarantee laborers the right to participate in the management functions of industries. Management function was meant to be performed entirely by the managers and as a result, workers went on strike in 18 August, 1945, demanding the General Motors to increase their salary by 30% (Brody, 176). They also failed to lobby for full employment of their members.

2. Brody is talking about the controversy between workers and management on thorny issues like collective bargaining. For instance, the workers of the General Motors company, went on strike demanding a 30% pay rise which was rejected by the management. Forcibly, they demanded to check the company’s books of accounts in order to ascertain whether it was in a financial position of meeting their demands, something which General Motors management termed as interfering with their profits (Brody, 175). Thus, they refused to satisfy the worker’s demand.

3. The struggle for collective bargaining has helped to shape industrial and employment structures in the U.S. The counter proposals from industrial owners on issues like participation of laborers in management functions also helped to shape and build the much needed coherence between the workers and the management in American industry. However, collective bargaining still remains a thorny issue in industrial relations worldwide. The fight for the right of the labor unions to exercise management functions leaves management with a feeling that their rights to manage industries are interfered with.

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