Capital mobility, job loss, and union strategy: The case of the UK aerospace industry
Danford, A. , Richardson, M. , Tailby, S. , Stewart, P. and Upchurch, M. (2007) Capital mobility, job loss, and union strategy: The case of the UK aerospace industry. Labor Studies Journal, 32 (3). pp. 298-318. ISSN 0160-449X
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0160449X07299705
Drawing on case study data, this article analyzes contrasting workplace union responses to organizational restructuring in the United Kingdom’s aerospace industry. It critically evaluates two distinct union strategies that resonate with contemporary debates governing the future role of trade unions in the British workplace. The first response is based on “partnership” with management while the second reflects traditional “oppositionalism” via the assertive defense of rank-and-file member interests. The article highlights inherent weaknesses in partnership strategies arising from problems of management intention and union incorporation. By contrast, while militant opposition was more successful in constraining the exercise of managerial prerogatives, the traditions of “sectionalism” (or “localism”) in plant-based union organizing meant that this strategy was limited to securing a partial and transient defense of jobs and labor standards.
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