Publication Date



Analysis of historic relationship between GM and Union of Automobile Workers (UAW) from 1936 through the moment of bankruptcy of GM in 2009. How can this historic relationship be explained from the viewpoint of evolving labor and industrial relations in the US?

Historical and comparative analyses. Secondary analysis.

Over time the relationship has been a dynamic and flexible one. In the first decades the most important objective of the UAW was the recognition of the union by GM. From the second half of the 1940s until the 1970s the main attention of both parties shifted towards a dynamic wage policy. Finally, from the 1970s onwards the safeguarding of job security became the main objective of the UAW, whereas GM tried to maximize its room of maneuver to transform its Fordist production system into a more flexible one.

Research limitations/implications
The present study provides a starting point for further in-depth research towards the historic relationship between GM & the UAW.

Longitudinal approach of development of labor-management relationship between two opposite parties in differing economic and technological contexts.


Suggested Citation
De Gier, E. (2010). Paradise lost revisited: GM and the UAW in historical perspective. Retrieved [insert date] from Cornell University, ILR School site: