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Ravenswood: The Steelworkers' Victory and the Revival of American Labor (Ilr Press Books) Paperback – April 20, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0801486661 ISBN-10: 0801486661 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Ilr Press Books
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: ILR Press; 1 edition (April 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801486661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801486661
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,513,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In important ways, the Ravenswood strike illustrates the difficulties facing US workers as economic forces transform traditional employment patterns and relationships. The authors contend that unions remain a viable means of effective collective action. They depict in compelling detail the courage and intelligence of Ravenswood workers, whose efforts signaled a new vitality in the labor movement. . . For anyone with an interest in labor issues, this book is a valuable account of a significant union victory."—Choice. January, 2000

"Juravich and Bronfenbrenner analyze a little-noted labor victory that may turn out to have been more significant in revitalizing a flagging labor movement than the 1997 Teamsters' strike against UPS. . . Most important, Ravenswood illustrates the consequenses that result when financial consultants and corporate raiders take over companies and move to slash costs."—David Rouse, Booklist. July 1999.

"The book succeeds remarkably well. . . . I highly recommend the book to labor educators, union activists, and others interested in seeing how American unions have adapted to changing corporate structures and the dramatic decline in their ability to exert economic pressure using the traditional strike weapon."—Jeffrey B. Arthur, Assistant Professor of Management, Fairfield University. Industrial and Labor Relations Review. July 2000.

"Unionists seeking a manual on how to run a strategic contract campaign should read this page-turner about the steelworkers' struggle against Ravenswood Aluminum Co. . . .The authors vividly capture every step of their difficult but intrepid and inspiring struggle, which marked a turning point in labor's revival after years of setbacks."—Molly Charboneau, AFSCME DC37 Newspaper

"Global capital rules today; thanks to Ravenswood, workers can learn sophisticated tactics to face distant owners. This book is a key tool for a revived and effective labor movement and shows that all the components outlined combine to make effective union campaigns."—Mike Matejka, Union News. December, 1999.

"Ravenswood is the story of 'permanently replaced' aluminum workers who pushed themselves. . . to the limit to save their way of life. It is well worth reading."—David Keene II, The Federal Lawyer. November/December, 1999.

"The epic struggle and ultimate victory of the Steelworkers at Ravenswood proves that determined workers and their union can overcome the entrenched, bitter resistance of a rich, global corporate empire. Workers everywhere are indebted to Kate Bronfenbrenner and Tom Juravich for recounting this story of hope in such a compelling and human fashion."—George Becker, President, United Steelworkers of America

"This record of the struggle and victory of Ravenswood workers and their community is exciting and inspiring, a marvelous account of courage and solidarity. It is also highly instructive. As the authors vividly show, the imaginative techniques that were devised to overcome the lockout yield many lessons for working people and unions in the face of 'new powerful yet diffuse corporate structures,' and socioeconomic policies that enhance their power."—Noam Chomsky

"Tom Juravich and Kate Bronfenbrenner have blended these workers' voices with a razor-sharp analysis of the winning strategy at Ravenswood—the result is both compelling and useful. As today's workplaces are rapidly downsized and globalized, it is more important than ever that the Labor Movement understand our victories in order to replicate them."—John Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Kenney on July 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
During the Reagan era of the National Labor Relations Board, the labor climate in America was decidedly pro-employer. Yet even against that bias, the workers at the Ravenswood Aluminum Company were able to prevail against Emmett Boyle and his cohorts. This victory resulted from a combination of the egregious conduct of Boyle et al and the tenacious protests of the Steelworkers. Juravich and Bronfenbrenner detail how the workers built a successful campaign which capitalized on the gaffes committed by RAC and exposed the criminality of ownership's conduct. The authors follow this campaign as it progressed in the United States and abroad. The narrative is extremely readable, with character insights into the leading forces on both sides of the issue. The narrative bogs down a little when detailing the trek across Europe, but it does not become slow enough to make one set the book aside.
In an era when the grandchildren of union workers question the need for unions, and at times even lay blame at the feet of unions, this book is a reminder of the evils which would otherwise be unchecked, were it not for effective labor organizations. If not unions, what would be the check on the conduct of management? Will quarterly reports to shareholders, who are only concerned with profits, insure worker safety? Will often unenforced criminal laws mold the conduct of people like Emmett Boyle? Will OSHA regulations insure fairness? Is it possible that our tort system will protect the economically disadvantaged workers in battles against the deep pockets of management? Only an effective organized labor movement can adequately protect today's workers from abuses inherent in the system. Without being obnoxiously ideological, the authors powerfully convey this sentiment.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael Showalter on November 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a book about a strike against an aluminum plant in West Virginia by the United Steelworkers labor union in the early nineties. First, this is a genuinely good read (just based on the story....) with characters (all be they real...) that you root for and others that you shy away from (Emmitt Boyle and Marc Rich are drawn as evil incarnate....) Aside from this, this book serves as a record of a number of things: 1) a model for how a small-town labor struggle could be conducted on a broad-based front; 2) the ways in which capital does not exist in a locality so much as scattered throughout the world; and 3) an illustration of how labor stoppages in small towns have evolved from the days of Pinkerton thugs and picket lines to something more conplex and... well, modern....
I'd really recommend this book to about anyone but, well, honestly, only people really into labor are ever going to read this. This is a really good book....
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By mike matejka on December 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"Ravenswood" details the fight of West Virginia steelworkers to maintain their jobs and community against a multinational employer. This book echoes the workers' voices and their struggle. Innovative tactics gave these workers tools to not only wage an effective local effort, but an impressive international one as well. This is a key for labor's revitalization and an important book for activists.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mike matejka on December 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Unions and communities seeking tools to control global corporate power now have a handy guidebook -- "Ravenswood." This excellent book details how West Virginia steelworkers waged an international effort to maintain their jobs and safe conditions. Their innovative tactics and coalition building are lessons union and community activists can use. Plus workers' voices resonate in this book, as they struggle to maintain their lives. A first class effort!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mike matejka on December 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Unions and communities seeking tools to control global corporate power now have a handy guidebook -- "Ravenswood." This excellent book details how West Virginia steelworkers waged an international effort to maintain their jobs and safe conditions. Their innovative tactics and coalition building are lessons union and community activists can use. Plus workers' voices resonate in this book, as they struggle to maintain their lives. A first class effort!
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