Institutionalized insecurity: post-war employment restructuring and the symbolic power of the local business climate

Caroline Hanley
2021 Socio-Economic Review  
This article investigates an early case of the institutionalization of insecurity by examining labor-management struggles over capital mobility at the General Electric Company (GE) in Schenectady, NY during the 1950s and 1960s. During this period, GE expanded production in the US South and Southwest, reducing employment in Northern plant communities. In the union stronghold of Schenectady, GE's strategic use of the emergent 'business climate' concept undermined union power to resist employment
more » ... resist employment restructuring by reshaping the local politics of employment security: it mobilized community actors against labor's framing of the problem and enhanced the Company's ability to present its position as non-political or disinterested, which aided its operation of symbolic power. This article advances our understanding of the sources of legitimacy in claims-making and shows how cultural processes can contribute to change in the distribution of workplace rewards.
doi:10.1093/ser/mwab017 fatcat:duadpmethzhsdp7xjki3rca7ui