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January 1993, Vol. 116, No. 1
Michael H. Cimini, Susan L. Behrmann, and Eric M. Johnson
T he economy's inability to emerge from a 2-year recession and the fallout from defense cuts contributed to difficult negotiations in 1992 for unions and management. Several key unionized industries were forced to downsize and lay off workers. For example, weakened demand for steel (particularly from the sagging auto industry) and overcapacity brought losses for many integrated steelmakers; aerospace companies were generally hard hit by the recession and defense cutbacks; most major airlines posted net losses because of summer fare wars, soaring fuel costs, and a sluggish economy; and heavy machinery companies were adversely affected by softening sales because of slow growth here and abroad. Several other industries also experienced economic difficulties because of the prolonged recession, weak sales, foreign competition, or government regulations.
During 1992, management and labor negotiators continued to grapple with the pressures to reduce or at least stabilize labor costs in the face of stiff foreign competition, the effects of deregulation in the transportation industry, structural and technological changes in many industries, and the spiraling cost of Health care. Many companies subcontracted work to nonunion shops, moved plants overseas, to Mexico, or to "right-to-work" States, closed obsolete facilities, reduced staff, and introduced new production methods. As a result, many negotiations focused on how to preserve jobs and keep companies economically viable in a sluggish, changing economy.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 1993 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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