Fighting For Jobs

Case Studies of Labor-Community Coalitions Confronting Plant Closings

By Bruce Nissen

Subjects: Anthropology Of Work
Series: SUNY series in the Sociology of Work and Organizations
Paperback : 9780791425688, 215 pages, August 1995
Hardcover : 9780791425671, 215 pages, August 1995

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Table of contents




1. Introduction

2. Military Conversion and the Shutdown of the Blaw-Knox Steel Foundry

3. Public Subsidy Abuse at the Combustion Engineering Plant

4. Successorship and Managerial Competence at the Stratojac Plant

5. Struggle to Reopen the Hammond LTV Bar Mill

6. Preventing a Department Relocation at the LaSalle Steel Plant

7. Comparing the Cases: Critical Factors

8. Problem Definition, Alliance Formation, Mobilization, and the Significance of Labor-Community Coalitions


Selected Bibliography


Examines the struggle of the unions and communities to save jobs in plant-closing situations in the 1980s, and shows why some labor-community coalitions were more successful than others.


This book examines the struggle of unions and communities to save jobs in plant-closing situations in the 1980s. The unusual depth of the research allows the reader to grasp the key factors affecting such battles in an era of industrial restructuring. It contains new insights into "early warning" signs, their recognition and importance; the role of labor-management relations in both shutdown decisions and efforts to save the plant; the importance of corporate structure and strategy; the part played by economic market factors; and the role of local government, both potential and actual. The book concludes with an analysis of the current trends affecting labor-community activism of this type.

Bruce Nissen is Associate Professor of Labor Studies at Indiana University, Northwest.


"Fighting for Jobs shows the unrecognized promise of community-labor coalitions resisting the destruction of good jobs and local economies. Its thoroughly researched case studies and clear analysis will be invaluable for academics, policy analysts, and grassroots activists.

Fighting for Jobs reveals what the issue of 'good jobs' is really all about." — Jeremy Brecher, co-author of Global Village or Global Pillage; co-editor of Building Bridges: The Emerging Grassroots Coalition of Labor and Community

"I am extremely enthusiastic about the book from a variety of perspectives: it is well written and accessible; it addresses a significant issue facing U.S. working people and their communities; it evaluates the roles of corporations, governments, unions, and community organizations and coalitions as they engage in struggle over whether and how plants should close. It is a significant advance over the existent plant closing literature." — Harry R. Targ, Purdue University

"The key contribution of the author is his insight as an activist who was actively involved in the plant closings he writes about. He has a privileged access to a sensitive and volatile situation that might not have been available to more traditional researchers. His insights into the internal operations of Calumet Project are also unique. I can't think of another book in the field that knits together several case studies with such care and also provides a framework for understanding their common underpinnings." — Michael Wallace, Indiana University