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Against LaborHow U.S. Employers Organized to Defeat Union Activism$
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Rosemary Feurer and Chad Pearson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040818

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040818.001.0001

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The Strange Career of A. A. Ahner

The Strange Career of A. A. Ahner

Reconsidering Blackjacks and Briefcases

(p.159) 6 The Strange Career of A. A. Ahner
Against Labor

Rosemary Feurer

University of Illinois Press

Rosemary Feurer traces the leading purveyor of anti-union services in the Midwest, A. A. Ahner, to frame employers’ antiunion strategies during the New Deal. She argues that the long learning curve that took place over decades explains why a thug agency survived and thrived instead of being eradicated during what is usually considered the heroic era of liberal intervention. Ahner became an accepted industrial relations advisor and counselor for major firms during the New Deal, with the assistance of a liberal as well as conservative forces, networks and alliances. Ahner’s career path only seems strange because historians cling to a framework of the post New Deal “Rise of the Right” with Southern origins while ignoring longer antecedents, networks, and learning

Keywords:   union-busting, strikebreaking, repression, A. A. Ahner, open-shop, employers’ associations

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