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Department of History

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Howell John Harris

2000 Bloodless Victories: The Rise and Fall of the Open Shop in the Philadelphia Metal Trades, 1890-1940, Cambridge University Press, xviii + 465 pp.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This book examines how a group of manufacturers of metal products - 'everything from buttonhooks to battleships' - in America's third biggest city helped each other to meet the challenges of organized labour (and sometimes an interventionist state) in the half-century between the 'second industrial revolution' and the Second World War. After thirty years of success, the employers were finally overwhelmed by a resurgent labour movement backed by New Deal politicians and administrators. Their story offers the broadest and most detailed account available of the industrial relations problems and policies of small and mid-sized firms in this period. This book analyses labour issues by means of a careful local case study, but its conclusions about the interplay of labour, organized capital, law and the state in determining the fate of workers' rights and employers' interests have broad relevance to the history and politics of twentieth-century industrial relations.