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Abstract

[Excerpt] Two years ago Taylor Forge, a subsidiary of Gulf + Western, I closed. I had worked there for almost eight years as a production I machinist, and I was Grievance Chairman of United Steelworkers Local 8787. During the last two years before the doors shut, G + W I had demanded concessions as a trade-off for the "possibility" of job security. By that time, through our own research, we knew we were victims of G + W's "milking" strategy. Concessions wouldn't have saved jobs. They would have just increased the demoralization and financial strain on our members as the place went down. We didn't grant concessions. The factory died department by department and order by order, led by a smart-ass company accountant who was hated by his own management team as much as by the workers.

It was common to hear on the floor, as workers watched the source of their income and pride collapse, "We could run this better ourselves without them." When you looked at the probable 20% profit rate that G + W expected from Taylor Forge, the policy for maintenance and inventory geared to draining rather than maintaining, the enormous morale problems, and the incredible mismanagement contrasted to the skill,commitment and; knowledge of a veteran work force—workers' capacity to run it better wasn't an idea that was out of the question. Certainly difficult, but not impossible. But this was an option that neither my local nor myself knew much about at the time.

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