Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Advanced Manufacturing / Factories / Manufacturing

A harrowing tale of decline

October 20, 2009

If you like a good story, click here to read an Associated Press narrative of the bitter strike at the Vincent Bach plant in Elkhart.

It tells of workers who dug in their feet and struck the maker of high-end brass musical instruments only to be undermined by an equally stubborn company and “scabs” who slipped back into their jobs. Now the holdouts are struggling to survive in jobs paying nowhere near the solidly middle-class livings they enjoyed.

The union and company both are portrayed as acting out of fear—Bach positioning itself to survive an onslaught of inexpensive Chinese imports.

The three-year strike wasn’t a happy experience for anyone. The police were called out 300 times.

Any thoughts about the story? How about the larger issue of well-paid Americans betting that their experience as craftsmen makes them indispensable?


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