Solidarity and “Generational Equity”
During the postwar period (as we recounted in Chapter 2), the UAW and the major automotive manufacturers negotiated a series of contracts which were instrumental in establishing what has sometimes been called “Fordism,” an organizational technology designed to regulate “industrial relations.” Principal features included a closed employment system with a well-defined internal labor market regulated by rigid job classifications, a strong seniority principle, and a labor-reserve system of layoff-and-recall cycles; pattern bargaining in negotiations of new or renewed contracts for labor; and, at least ideally, lifetime income security for wage-rate employees. Wage increases were linked to rising real rates of productivity. The concerted aim of employer and union was to stabilize the economy by strengthening a home market that could consume all of the domestic product, or all that could not be exported to other consumers. Seniority determined movement up the job ladder as well as recall rights after layoffs, which were negotiated on a plant by plant basis. During downturns in the “business cycle,” workers were “bumped” from higher to lower paying jobs and from plants that were closing to plants where there was a need for workers.
KeywordsEarly Retirement Young Worker Generational Equity Inverse Mill Ratio Attitudinal Variable
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