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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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The Age of Thomas Mitten

The Age of Thomas Mitten

(p.89) 4 The Age of Thomas Mitten
Running the Rails

James Wolfinger

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the age of Thomas Mitten, one of the nation's most famous transportation company managers and a key figure in the development of company unions and welfare capitalism. It mainly focuses on how Mitten tapped into broader intellectual currents of the 1910s and 1920s, when corporations more frequently sought subtler means of worker control, to develop the Mitten Plan. A combination of a company union, welfare capitalism, and an employee stock purchase program, the Mitten Plan at first captured the loyalty of much of the workforce and the imagination of pundits, academics, and government officials. By the late 1920s, however, critics began to question whether the Mitten Plan really helped workers or merely used different means to keep them under the control of management.

Keywords:   Thomas Mitten, company unions, welfare capitalism, Mitten Plan, stock purchase program, worker control

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