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Between convergence and exceptionalism : Americans and the British model of labor relations, c. 1867-1920.

Harris, Howell John (2007) 'Between convergence and exceptionalism : Americans and the British model of labor relations, c. 1867-1920.', Labor history., 48 (2). pp. 141-173.


Between the late 1860s and the aftermath of the First World War, American discourse about the 'labor problem' - relations among workers, unions, employers, and the state - was permeated by comparisons. Reformers looked especially toward Britain, the first industrial nation, for clues about how to build an industrial relations system. This article explores how three generations of American employers reflected on what Britain's experience with relatively strong, recognized, legally secure unions could teach about how to handle the challenge of American labor. Their interest was serious, sustained, if discontinuous. It was most important at key moments of decision in the early 1900s and in 1918-19 when the Open Shop was first built, and then refurbished and defended. Examination of their understanding and representations of the British model of labor relations aids our appreciation of the ideological framework within which they conceived and constructed the American Way.

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Record Created:04 Nov 2008
Last Modified:02 Sep 2011 09:18

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