Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations


Labor Management, High performance work systems, Paper Industry - Maine, Scott paper Company, International Paper Company


Labor management cooperation, and the adoption of high-performance work systems (HPWS), are central topics in recent industrial relations research, with much emphasis given to “best-practice” success stories. This paper uses a case study analysis, relying on conventional, and oral history interviews, to explore why managers, union leaders, and workers in two Maine paper mills rejected the cooperation and the HPWS model. It explores how local history and culture, regional factors like the dramatic International Paper (IP) strike in Jay, Maine, instability in industry labor relations, management turnover, and instability in corporate governance contributed to these two mills’ rejection of Scott Paper Corporation's “Jointness” initiative during the period from 1988 to 1995. The study argues that intra-management divisions blocked cooperation on the management side, and that the Jay strike created a “movement culture” among Maine's paper workers, who developed a class-conscious critique of HPWS as a tactic in class warfare being perpetrated by paper corporations.


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