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Hogan Steel Archive: Labor

The “Hogan Steel Archive,” representing a three-year collaborative effort of the Walsh Library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections and Fordham’s Industrial Economics Research Institute, commemorates and preserves the remarkable steel legacy



The 27 labor files provide information on steel-industry labor relations, primarily in the United States, treating such subjects as historical developments dating from the 1850’s, labor costs and productivity, collective bargaining, labor disputes and strikes, labor agreements, pensions and pension liabilities, wage stabilization, and supplemental unemployment benefits. Also included are a number of files dealing with the guaranteed annual wage, a subject studied extensively by Father Hogan, who in 1953 became a member of United States Steel’s Guaranteed Wage Subcommittee. Additional information on steel labor is provided in the files on individual-country steel industries under the heading “industrial relations,” and in the Archive’s books and references, including Current Practices in Industrial Relations in the Steel Industry by the Committee on Industrial Relations of IISI, The Steel Workers by John A. Fitch, Labor Policy of United States Steel Corporation by Charles A. Gulick, Collective Bargaining in the Basic Steel Industry by the U.S. Department of Labor, John L. Lewis by the United Mine Workers of America, and Father Hogan’s books Productivity in the Blast-Furnace and Open-Hearth Segments of the Steel Industry and Economic History of the Iron and Steel Industry in the United States (Five Volumes).

Analysis: During 1980-2003, despite a 35% increase in world crude steel production from 716 million to 965 million tons, steel-industry employment underwent sharp declines in most countries. An average decline of 57% was experienced in 24 countries for which IISI tracks data, all of which saw steel employment trend significantly lower over the period. In the European Union, it fell 66%, from 792 thousand to 269 thousand workers. In the United States and Canada , it fell 61%, from 460 thousand to 179 thousand, and in Japan from 380 thousand to 170 thousand workers, a decline of 55%. Likewise in Brazil , steel employment dropped 48%, from 132 thousand to 68 thousand workers. With steel production and industry employment trending in opposite directions, the production of each worker rose some 200% in the EU, about 140% in the United States and Canada, and approximately 115% in Japan.