William Green was a deeply believing Christian, which served as a key factor in forming his socially orientated, appeasing unionization strategy. As a president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), Green fought against wage reductions and towards establishing an eight-hour working day and the five-day work week (Phelan, 1989). These goals were achieved by constantly addressing both the Christian virtues of the industry operators and their rational wishes to maintain a productive balance between capital and labor. For instance, Green advertised the new wage policy by pointing out to its social welfare implications along with desirable economic effects (expanded markets and productivity boost) (Phelan, 1989). Therefore, he was striving to undermine the hostility of employers towards work unionism by forsaking whatever militancy and presenting the AFL as a powerful stability enforcer. Green endeavored to achieve a higher social and economic status for working class, proving its right and ability to participate in the decision-making process on the job.
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As a president of the Committee for Industrial Organizations (CIO) within the AFL, John L. Lewis supported outright opposition to industry operators as the most effective way to achieving better work conditions and higher wages (Alinsky, 1949). Lewis would even arrange a strike of a half-million miners while other unions were holding to a non-strike policy (Alinsky, 1949). Under his leadership, CIO sought no approval from government, industry operators or other work organizations. Despite this the organization won certain social benefits for workers and kept the wage level in the industry for some period of time. Lewis is also given credit for the agreement between the government and the United Mine Worker Association. The program led to the building of eight hospitals and many clinics for mine workers (Alinsky, 1949).
To my mind, the strategy of William Green is a way more comprehensive and allows achieving better long-term effects than the one applied by John L. Lewis. The latter kept employers in a constant tension under the threat of strike while Green saw his main task in establishing mutually beneficial cooperation between capital and labor.
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