Patterns of Union-Management Relations: United Automobile Workers (CIO), General Motors, Studebaker

By Frederick H. Harbison; Robert Dubin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
Corporation and Union Programs and Strategies

IN FINANCIAL resources, technological development, and sales, General Motors is one of the largest corporations in the world. It is clearly the leader of the automotive industry since it makes nearly half of the passenger cars and trucks produced in this country. It is also a major manufacturer of diesel-electric railway locomotives, refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, heating equipment, electric ranges, home lighting and water systems, and a host of related products. In 1947 it employed nearly 300,000 workers in 117 plants in this country alone, and had more than 450,000 stockholders.

From any point of view, General Motors is big. It directly affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers. It plays an important role in the communities where its plants are located. The thinking and actions of its management directly or indirectly affect the lives of millions of individuals. It holds a position of influence and leadership in the economic and political life of the nation which goes far beyond the confines of the automotive industry. It is not surprising, therefore, that General Motors has long been recognized by a large segment of American industry as a pattern-setter in the field of labor relations.

In 1947 General Motors had bargaining relationships with twenty-eight different international unions and had in force eighty-five separate agreements with labor

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