Labor Negotiations films (fwd)

Harold David Rennie (
Mon, 6 Oct 1997 09:42:28 -0300 (ADT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 16:07:20 EDT
From: Seth Wigderson, U Maine Augusta <SETHW@MAINE.MAINE.EDU>
To: Multiple recipients of list H-LABOR <H-LABOR@H-NET.MSU.EDU>
Subject: Labor Negotiations films

Here are four suggestions which offer a variety of good choices.
Thanx to Marcus R. Widenor, Jeff Haydu, Dr Richard C Schellhammer and
O.P. Rafferty. SW
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I have two suggestions for you, both of which I have used in 16mm film
format. I'm not sure whether they are available on video. This also
idicates their age, which is something of a problem with them. We really
need a new film dealing with the dynamics of bargaining in the 1990's. I
am a worker educator, so these remarks reflect my experience using the
films with adult, trade union groups. I have also shown them to graduate
students though, and I don't see why they wouldn't be effective with
management practitioners too.

"An Inside Look at Collective Bargaining," was produced by the US
Department of Labor back in the 1970's (lots of wide lapels and a
distinctly militant tone at the bargaining table). It runs around 45
minutes and has periodic breaks in the film where you can stop it and
discuss different dynamics of the bargaining process (e.g. a side bar
between the union representative and the company's chief negotiator). The
bargaining situation portrayed in the film is a traditional manufacturing
one and there is really just one, token female in it.

As an educational dramatization it contains some rather sterotypical roles
and bargaining behavior, and the specific political and industrial
relations context is certainly not what trade unionists have faced in the
post-80's era, with takeaway demands from employers and the threat (at
least in the US) of striker replacements. One favorite example of this is
an exchange in which the union president tells his international
representative how young workers just aren't going to take certain kinds of
hassle on the shop floor----that they'll just throw down their tools and
quit. Sounds more like the Lordstown speedup era than the 1990's, although
maybe things are about to change again. Despite these qualification I think
this is still a useful film as long as you correct the historical context

Another film I have used with public sector trade unionists is the
"Waldenville" series. One film deals with negotiations, a second with
mediation, and a third with grievance arbitration. Again, it is a product
of the 1970's, and lacks some of the complexities of more recent labor
negotiations. Its format is similar to "An Inside Look...," with scenes
not only of across the table bargaining, but also of union and management
caucuses. I can't remember who produced this one. I know the University
of Minnesota's Labor Education Service has all three parts of the series.

Finally, I see that there is a brand new, 25 minute video available from
the University of Wisconsin's School for Workers which deals with so called
"interest based" or "mutual gains" bargaining. Haven't seen it so I can't
say how good it is. Phone: 608-262-4496.

I see from your post that you are not looking for a documentary.
Nonetheless I have to say that my favorite film on the subject is still
your own Canadian Film Board's "Final Offer." Another very realistic
example is the "Taylor Chain" series, dealing with the beginnings of the
takeaway era.

Marcus R. Widenor Phone: 541-346-2785
Associate Professor FAX: 541-346-2790
Labor Education and Research Center
1289 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1289

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From: Jeff Haydu <>
Three possibilities, none of them up-to-date, are Kartemquin's Taylor Chain
II: A Story of Collective Bargaining (1984) and two from Merrimack films,
Crisis Bargaining (with Ed Koch and Victor Gotbaum at the table) and
Givebacks (UAW).


Jeff Haydu
(619) 534-5310

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The film, "Hoffa," has some interesting labor negotiation scenes. I
don't know if that's the sort of thing your're looking for, but there
it is.
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An excellent video on labour negotiations is a Canadian production
entitled "The Negotiator." The video/documentary concentrates on the
negotiating activities of Basil "Buzz" Hargrove of the Canadian Auto
Workers. While this tape should probably come with a "language may offend
some viewers" caveat, it is an excellent instructional documentary.

O.P. Rafferty
From: Oisin P Rafferty <raffert@mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA>