Heritage of Conflict: Labor Relations in the Nonferrous Metals Industry up to 1930

Heritage of Conflict: Labor Relations in the Nonferrous Metals Industry up to 1930

Heritage of Conflict: Labor Relations in the Nonferrous Metals Industry up to 1930

Heritage of Conflict: Labor Relations in the Nonferrous Metals Industry up to 1930

Excerpt

Unwholesome labor relations are not inevitable. Nor are good labor relations achieved without persistent constructive effort. Even the best of relations will deteriorate if the parties lack understanding of the nature of rights in our society, just as surely as they will if the parties are negligent and inconsiderate.

When labor relations are wholesome it comes from development of mutual understanding of the basic elements which underlie worker and employer relationships in an enterprise economy. This leads to an awareness of the nature of the problems which arise in day-to-day relations and gives insight into the conduct that is most likely to eliminate or reduce controversy. Although seeds of conflict are inherent in many of the relationships in our type of society, a tendency to open warfare need not be pervasive. Pursuit of self- interest, which is the motivating force of such an economy, whether followed by individuals or by organized groups, will lead to conflict unless it is studiously avoided. If conflict is not avoided, it may become self-propelling. Conflict breeds conflict. Conflict magnifies problems, bloats them out of all proportion. Unsolved problems, in turn, breed belligerency or frustration which leads to conflict. On the other hand, problems when settled disarm belligerency and remove frustrations; thus conflict is dissipated by a minimization of its causes. Differences of interest can be set in balance with respect to each other. Differences cease to be worth a fight and can be settled on the basis of mutual good will. Good labor relations create an environment which withholds nourishment from the seeds of conflict.

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