Capital-Labor Relations in the U.S. Textile Industry

By Barry E. Truchil | Go to book overview

machinery producers and textile manufacturers had been historically interested in merely replacing existing or worn-out machinery with occasional increases in speed or size.

During the 1960s there was an emphasis on new technology, such as automatic doffers, open-end spinning, and the computerization of the labor process. New developments sought to eliminate labor involved in the loading, doffing, and trucking of materials from one phase of production to another. As a result, many machine operatives were displaced as newer machines maintained and increased productivity levels while reducing the number of workers. Furthermore, remaining workers have become increasingly deskilled. Many operations performed by textile workers that required manual dexterity, among other skills, have been transferred to machines. Textile workers thus spend a greater proportion of the working day patrolling their machines for malfunctions, and tending a larger number of machines that operate at faster speeds than before.

As mechanization largely deskills labor and displaces workers from production, the workers' bargaining position vis-à-vis capital is weakened. With their dispensability, they cannot use their skills as a bargaining position against management. Moreover, the result of fewer workers patrolling a larger number of machines is the dispersal of workers in the mills, weakening workers at that point of production. Trends that seek to minimize labor input into production thus weaken The position of textile workers.


NOTES
1.
See Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I ( Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1887), Chapters XII-XV.
2.
Brighton Labor Process Group, "The Capitalist Labor Process," Capital and Class 1, no. 1 ( 1978), p. 5.
3.
Harry Braverman, Labor and Monopoly Capital ( New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974); Richard Edwards, Contested Terrain ( New York: Basic Books, 1979); and Stephen Marglin, "What Do Bosses Do? The Origins and Functions of Hierarchy", The Review of Radical Political Economics 6 (Summer 1974), pp. 60-112. See James Geschwender and Rhonda Levine, "Rationalization and Production: A Dimension of Class Struggle: Hawaii, 1940-1960", unpublished manuscript, pp. 2-5, for an overview of these theoretical trends.
4.
Stanley Aronowitz, "Marx, Braverman and the Logic of Capital", Insurgent Sociologist 8 (Fall 1978), pp. 142-144; and Ken Kusterer, Know-How on the Job: The Important Working Knowledge of "Unskilled" Workers ( Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1978).
5.
D. Magaline, Lutte de classes et devalorisation du capital ( Paris: François Maspero, 1975); Geschwender and Levine, "Rationalization and Production", p. 3; and David Gartman, "Marx and the Labor Process: An Interpretation", Insurgent Sociologist 8 (Fall 1978), p. 99.
6.
Lance Davis et al., American Economic Growth: An Economist's History of the U.S. ( New York: Harper and Row, 1972), p. 454.

-38-

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Capital-Labor Relations in the U.S. Textile Industry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Notes xiv
  • 1 - Profile of The Textile Industry 1
  • Notes 14
  • 2 - Mechanization in The Textile Labor Process 17
  • Notes 38
  • 3 - Textile Capital Relocation 41
  • Notes 85
  • 4 - State Intervention In Textile-Labor Relationships 91
  • Notes 121
  • 5 - Weakening Of Textile Labor 127
  • Notes 146
  • 6 - Conclusion 149
  • Appendix: Acquisitions And Deacquisitions of The 15 Largest U.S. Textile Companies, 1946-83 155
  • Selected Bibliography 169
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 195
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