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By Sally Klingel, Ann M. Martin

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Additional resources for A Fighting Chance: New Strategies to Save Jobs and Reduce Costs

Sample text

Next, regional and local union leadership worked on strategies to involve management in the job-saving effort. Trico management had already rejected a similar idea to study the feasibility of saving the jobs, so the union was aware that the odds were against its being accepted. unity and church activists held a demonstration in the streets behind Trico's plant # 1 and a press conference to publicize the results of an independent study by the Midwest Center for Labor Research of the economic and human costs of the projected layoffs to the Buffalo area.

A standard costaccounting procedure had been formulated for CSTs, an avarage currency exchange rate had been established, the steering committee was available to guide the team, and formats and guidelines for presentations had been worked out. During the first phase of the team's research, members studied their benchmark and negotiated some changes in it. Next, they sent a letter to Xerox management worldwide explaining their task and asking for suggestions. This effort, as well as attempts to solicit feedback from their co-workers, produced very few ideas.

It took weeks of vigorous discussion before Local 686 and Harrison management agreed to a process by which union members would investigate savings in an effort to match or better Autocon's bid. The process they agreed to was a variation of the cost study team strategy. Although there was some precedent at Harrison for joint efforts to save jobs, this was the first time that a team was created for the sole purpose of identifying cost savings. The story of the development of the cost study team at Harrison demonstrates that CSTs can be effective even when there is little initial understanding between labor and management and when past experience makes it difficult for these parties to reach agreement outside formal negotiations.

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