It is a bedrock American belief: the 1950s were a golden age of
prosperity for autoworkers. Flush with high wages and enjoying the
benefits of generous union contracts, these workers became the
backbone of a thriving blue-collar middle class. It is also a myth.
Daniel J. Clark began by interviewing dozens of former autoworkers
in the Detroit area and found a different story--one of economic
insecurity caused by frequent layoffs, unrealized contract
provisions, and indispensable second jobs. Disruption in Detroit is
a vivid portrait of workers and an industry that experienced
anything but stable prosperity. As Clark reveals, the
myths--whether of rising incomes or hard-nosed union bargaining
success--came later. In the 1950s, ordinary autoworkers, union
leaders, and auto company executives recognized that although jobs
in their industry paid high wages, they were far from steady and
often impossible to find.
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