"A Seething Cauldron": The 1941 Bethlehem Steel Strike and the Future of Labor Organizing
- Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 88, Number 1, Winter 2021
- pp. 30-55
- Additional Information
- Purchase/rental options available:
Are macroeconomic indicators a predictive measure for union organizing? The year 2021 marks the eightieth anniversary of the 1941 Bethlehem Steel strike and its steelworker history suggests that declining unemployment rates and rising stock markets have little correlation to labor organizing. Sixty years of shop floor protests leading up to 1941 demonstrated that local factors, such as unjust dismissals, excessive hours, or the company's defiance of labor board rulings, drove union campaigns at the South Bethlehem plant. Finally, the success of the campaigns grew in proportion to government support for labor. Steelworker history of one of the twentieth century's most powerful corporations sheds light on organized labor's prospects heading into the mid-twenty-first century.