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Running the RailsCapital and Labor in the Philadelphia Transit Industry$
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James Wolfinger

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702402

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702402.001.0001

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Labor Relations and Public Relations

Labor Relations and Public Relations

(p.160) 6 Labor Relations and Public Relations
Running the Rails

James Wolfinger

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores workers' experience at the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) in the context of a larger postwar conflict between capital and labor. After World War II, the United States witnessed a wave of strikes that challenged capital's prerogatives, including the right to run an open shop, the right to deploy financial and personnel resources as it saw fit, and the right to make planning decisions without workers' input. Workers' challenges to management's prerogatives pitted the two classes against each other in ways as powerful as two generations earlier and led to a series of strikes. The battles played out in the press as much as on the transit lines, with management painting the workers as greedy, overly powerful union members bent on destroying the PTC and the city of Philadelphia.

Keywords:   capital, labor, Philadelphia Transportation Company, workers' rights, union members, Philadelphia

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