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Smokestacks in the HillsRural-Industrial Workers in West Virginia$
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Lou Martin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039454

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039454.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 17 November 2019

Prosperous, Independent Rural-Industrial Workers

Prosperous, Independent Rural-Industrial Workers

Chapter:
(p.92) Chapter 4 Prosperous, Independent Rural-Industrial Workers
Source:
Smokestacks in the Hills
Author(s):

Lou Martin

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252039454.003.0005

This chapter explores the variety of methods used by semiskilled operatives and unskilled laborers to improve their working conditions and to extract better wages and benefits from their employers during the 1940s and 1950s. Unlike millions of urban-industrial workers, they did not join truly national labor organizations and participate in national strikes. Instead, they relied on a system of local negotiations, often informal, occasionally invoking state and federal agencies to influence the outcome. Because this system delivered many of the same material benefits that American Federation of Labor (AFL) and Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO) unionists won in these decades, local steel and pottery workers saw no need to make fundamental changes to their systems of collective bargaining, and they come to value the local nature of labor relations.

Keywords:   unskilled laborers, national labor organizations, national strikes, local negotiations, American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organization, collective bargaining, labor relations

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