CHAPTER 4

Out of Crisis, Innovation: Seedbeds for the Future of Work

Born of Crisis: An Era of Experimentation and Innovation

Some labor leaders and their management counterparts in highly unionized firms could see that things had changed in the early 1980s and began searching for new directions in labor-management relations. For example, progressive labor leaders such as UAW vice-president Don Ephlin and his corporate counterpart at GM, Al Warren, fostered a series of innovations that laid the foundation for the spread of new work systems. Their two boldest experiments were to negotiate a joint venture with Toyota called New United Motors Manufacturing, Inc (NUMMI)1 and to create a new autonomous division of GM called the Saturn Corporation. ...

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