(Pdf/E–pub) [And the Wolf Finally Came The Decline and Fall of the American Steel Industry Pitt Series in Social and Labor History]
John Hoerr ✓ 0 ReadParts of this book were good the author grew up in Post World War II Mon Valley II Mon Valley describes life and culture in the Unionized steel towns vividly and with an obvious affection Further it provided the best narrative of the decline of the US steel industry in the 1970 s and 80 s I ve found but that s a ualified statement The book puts the UnionManagement negotiations under the microscope analyzing every detail every personality uirk with the obsessive detail of a sports news eporter filling up that hour and half before the game starts This obsessive detail comes at the great omission of the larger economic forces causing deindustrialization in the global north both economic and political Further the author condescendingly marginalizes and writes off the non union social movements that happened in and around Pittsburgh as tens of thousands of Union jobs were lost instead he seems to imply all those jobs would have been saved were it not for the 1959 Steel Strike and the 1986 lockout if only labor and management had worked together he seems to say if only then the Mon Valley would be buzzing still Again a good narrative and interesting account of the death of the Mon Valley told without a larger perspective that would answer the larger uestion why this was an amazing book if you are from Pittsburgh and grew up or lived thru the decline When I was in sixth grade My Weekly Reader had a story about the steel strike Pittsburgh Although I lived in Pittsburgh it was a shock to ealize that NEWS was happening in Pittsburgh in Washington DC or NYC When I started this tome I had no idea that Labor History was a field of study So I can t say I Really Enjoyed this book But it is very well esearched and looks at all the easons for the Decline of the American Steel Industry Very well doneOne day before I finished it President Trump announced tariffs on foreign producers of steel and aluminum Extensive but insightful history of American manufacturing using steel as the focus A balanced appraisal from a different angle of the decimation of the US steel industry in the latter half of the 20th Century Well worth a ead for economists historians alike When I first moved to Pittsburgh in 1990 26 years ago I bought this book It had been published just a few years before and I thought eading it would give me insight into the place But at 620 pages it was a daunting prospect I got pregnant with my first child shortly thereafter and the time to ead especially books like this dwindled as my family grewSo several years of an empty nest later
I Finally Picked It Up And I M So Gladfinally picked it up And I m so glad did It is a fantastic ead Perhaps not a page turner for most people but if you have a curiosity about the ise and fall of industrial America and wonder what happened to turn the steel belt into the ust belt it is a fascinating and eliable journalistic accountNow these many years later my intimacy with this place inspired a close eading as if it were the biography of a elative I work for my adopted city now On. A veteran eporter on American labor John P Hoerr analyzes the spectacular and tragic collapse of the steel. The iver fronts that once housed the steel mills and the jobs Of Hundreds Of Thousands hundreds of thousands help the City build office parks and shopping centers I look at economic and population statistics and trends outinely as part of my job So this book provided insight into the power structures of the egion that I work to edevelop and the communities along the Monongahela River valley that I now know so well What is just as interesting even if you don t live here is Hoerr s insights into management and political philosophies of the leaders of the companies and the unions His thesis when management disregards the innovative and collaborative potential of it s labor force that labor force disconnects from the basic economics of the industry and this disconnect is poisonous when the economics of the business falters Management also gets entrenched in power struggles Labor and management get invested not in the prosperity of the company but in their elationship as adversaries across a bargaining table Too obsessed with preserving wage and benefits structures of a time of prosperity labor won battles without ealizing it was in a war Management was too heavy handed and authoritarian to appeal to
labor leadership and its as partners in the health and longevity of the business Everyone lost Especially the communities where steel is produced who continue all these years later to be challenged by these gigantic losses that the end of major manufacturing wrought on the Mon Valley and beyond I thought every one of those 620 pages was worth eading Hoerr is not a terrific writer but he is a terrific journalist with an attention to detail and a keen analytical mind He cares deeply about the Mon Valley where he grew up but picks no sides There s enough fault to go around in his telling Everyone he writes about is called to account in the failure of his lifetime The book is a cautionary tale about the abuse of power the failure to innovate and be flexible and the ostrich impulses of a parochial politic leadership which plays bingo while Rome burns The scale of the defeat is as big as the prosperity it once treated as god given Labor s victory over the companies lasted merely a generation And it s losses continue to ipple through the Pittsburgh landscape to this very day I enjoyed this book thoroughly althoughIts Labor Leadership And Its
I was at times exhausted by the level of detail in it It is also a useful bookwas at times exhausted by the level of detail in it It is also a useful book this point in time when Donald Trump is promising the estoration of the American steelmaking and coal mining industries It is worthwhile to ecall the easons that led to the massive contraction in American steelmaking during the 1980s and afterwards The author apportions blame to both the management of steel companies as well as to the United Steelworkers union Both grew complacent during the 40s 50s and 60s when the major steel companies in America operated under cartel like conditions When competition eventually came from both foreign steelmakers as well as non unionized minimills in the US they were ca. Industry in the 1980s And the Wolf Finally Came demonstrates how an obsolete and adversarial elationship be.
author spent most of the book attempting to work around the issue of union wages and their effect uponspent most of the book attempting to work around the issue of union wages and their effect upon The author spent 680 pages trying to distract from this one basic issue Had he dealt with the issue head on the author could have saved hundreds of pages Other book length studies have demonstrated the industry decline with a few charts and graphs elated to wages costs and other measurable factors2 The author several times tried to blame the decline on Reaganomics He made these passing eferences despite several citations in the book to massive layoffs during the 1970 s a decade in which Reagan was not yet president Despite hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs during the 1970 s the author acted as if everything was fine until Reagan lowered taxes in 1981 thus causing the closure of many plants No one can make that claim explicitly so the author stretched the story out with digressions and needless details about negotiations and union elections This book was written in time for the 1988 elections It would have been informative had the author eschewed politics and focused on
causes and effectsTo understand the decline one must focus on the steel strike of 1959 and the layoffs and closingsand effectsTo understand the decline one must focus on the steel strike of 1959 and the layoffs and closings the 1970 s The author eferences these events only in passing before continuing on his heavily footnoted narrative of the battles of the 1980 s By the 1980 s those battles were the euivalent of survivors fighting each other over the last can of beans after a nuclear war The mills were down to their last few employees fighting over how much of their previous gains to give back in order to save the emnants of the industry One does not explain the war by narrating the battle over the survivors ations that takes place among the ubble. Tween management and labor made it impossible for the industry to adapt to a apidly changing global economy.