Labor Relations and Productivity in the Building Trades

By William Haber; Harold M. Levinson | Go to book overview

Preface

Since the publication, in 1930, of Industrial Relations in the Building Industry, by William Haber, virtually no general analysis has been made of the labor relations problems in the construction field. It is the major objective of the present volume to fill at least a part of this gap. While a number of labor-management problems are analyzed in some detail, the central focus of this study is on the major factors affecting productivity in the industry, with particular reference to that part of it concerned with residential construction. To this end, primary emphasis has been placed on the chapters dealing with the introduction of new materials, equipment, and other new techniques; the nature, extent, and effects of various union "working rules"; the policies of both unions and contractors toward the training of apprentices; the trends in wages as compared to productivity trends; and the basic economic characteristics of the industry as they have affected its productivity.

Much of the material contained in these chapters is based upon original material gathered in a field survey conducted in the summer of 1952. The survey covered sixteen cities in ten states and the District of Columbia. The cities visited were Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Columbus ( Ohio), Charleston ( West Virginia), Charlotte (North Carolina), and Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek (all three in Michigan). These cities were chosen in order to obtain as wide a representation as possible, within the limits of available resources, from localities of varying sizes, having differing degrees of union strength in residential construction, and at least some geographic dispersion. A total of 268 interviews were conducted with representatives of labor, management,

-vii-

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