Labor History
Union Democracy

Recent Films
What Happened to Saturn?
Rustbelt Phoenix
Struggling Unions

Merrimack Films

Labor Resources

Endorsements for our Videos:


What Happened to Saturn? (2008)

“It is a good and very interesting film about a very important experiment that has fundamentally changed how unions and management work together.”

David E. Cole, Chairman, Center for Automotive Research

What Happened to Saturn? is required viewing for management, academics, and students…This film engages viewers to learn from Saturn’s triumphs and setbacks and to retain faith in the potential for meaningful and long lasting labor-management partnerships.”

Howard Stanger, Associate Professor of Management, Canisius College

“Sharply focused interviews with many participants from both labor and management… Especially useful for stimulating undergraduate and graduate students in industrial relations, human resources, political economy, and the social sciences.”

Stephen Amberg, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at San Antonio

“This film will be of interest to anyone interested in labor-management relations, corporate strategy and the economics of the automobile industry and large industry in general. I plan to use this film in both my undergraduate and graduate classes in Strategic Management.”

Donald Grunewald, Professor of Strategic Management, Hagan School of Business, Iona College

“The video provides a wonderful starting point for class discussion on the challenges associated with organizational and union change.”

Frits Pil, Associate Professor of Business Administration, University of Pittsburgh


Rustbelt Phoenix: Saving the American Steel Industry (2006)

Rustbelt Phoenix is an important film that provides a glimpse into a bold experiment which could serve as the model for the future of labor-management relations in the American steel industry and beyond. It should be compulsory viewing in labor education and industrial relations courses.”

Paul Clark, Department of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations, Penn State University

“The story is gripping, the scenes engaging, and the ideas empowering. This film should be seen by all trade unionists, every management team member, and every high schooler and college student in the country.”

Art Shostak, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Drexel University

“Rustbelt Phoenix brings to life what's at stake and what is possible in efforts to revitalize America's mature manufacturing industries. By working together in sensible ways, labor and management created a new American steel industry out of the ashes of the old. Telling the story in the words of the people who made it happen brings to life the personal drama and the enormous stakes for the families and investors in ways that no words on paper could ever do.”

Thomas A. Kochan, Bunker Professor of Work and Employment Relations, MIT Sloan School of Management

“This film is an excellent teaching tool for anyone concerned about the fate of manufacturing in North America. The Rustbelt revival is due in no small measure to the efforts of thousands of rank and file steelworkers who, when given the chance to take responsibility for their plants, are more than able to figure out how to make steel that competes well on the global market.”

William Kornblum, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York


Struggling Unions (2002)

“Struggling Unions provides a vivid first-hand look at the challenge of union renewal and democratic membership control. It's a powerful experience.”

Bruce Kaufman, Professor of Economics,
Georgia State University

“If you've ever wondered why internal democracy is vital to the future of the labor movement, don't miss this thoughtful and provocative film. Struggling Unions documents the efforts of staunch trade unionists to make their unions open and democratic. The most respected labor experts in the United States and activists from the major sectors of the labor movement speak out for the right of union members to vote in open and free elections for the leaders of their choice. The case studies on which the film is based – the Teamsters, the New England Carpenters union, and New York City's D.C. 37 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees – are timely and moving testaments to the courage of rank-and-file and reform leaders who fight to make their unions stronger and more effective organizations for all working people.”

William Kornblum, Professor of Sociology,
City University of New York

“This is a very interesting and thought-provoking film which focuses on a subject too often ignored: the importance of the democratic process in unions if they are to fulfill the purpose of collective bargaining to give workers a voice in the decisions which control their working lives.”

Clyde W. Summers, Professor of Law,
University of Pennsylvania

“Struggling Unions is a fine, thought-provoking presentation of today's ‘state of the union.’ It deserves to be seen by many, from students, politicians, and workers to union officials.”

Arthur L. Fox II, attorney, Lobel, Novins & Lamont,
Washington, DC

“In a dramatic fashion, this video describes the struggles for democracy occurring in some key unions and the issues surrounding them.”

George Strauss, Professor of Business Administration Emeritus
University of California at Berkeley


Troubled Partnerships: When Labor and Management Can't Make It Work (1999)

“Revealing and timely ... Rich in memorable language, gripping images, and much drama, the film drives home the point that partnerships require trust, mutual respect, and a shared vision.”

Arthur Shostak, Professor of Sociology, Drexel University

“Henry Bass' film Troubled Partnerships forces us to search among the rubble of two famously failed workplace experiments for the necessary ingredients to construct enduring partnerships.”

Christopher Mackin, President, Ownership Associates

“This tape covers some of the country's best-publicized cases of partnership and raises difficult questions as to why so few succeed.”

George Strauss, Professor of Business Administration Emeritus,
University of California at Berkeley

“Unions and labor studies classes can get an inside look at the complicated and contentious nature of labor-management cooperation programs with the latest video from Merrimack Films. Troubled Partnerships: When Labor and Management Can't Make It Work shows the ways in which these arrangements fall apart, and how the controlling and often inconsistent actions of employers contribute to the failure of the same schemes they often initiate.”

Labor Notes, March 1999

“Troubled Partnerships is recommended to HRM officers and consultants, trade union consultants, as well as teachers and students within the field of participation and labour relations.”

Herman Knudsen, Senior Lecturer
Aalborg University, Denmark


Partners: Bethlehem Steel and the United Steelworkers (1996)

“Your video ... meshes with the findings that my colleagues and I gathered from numerous plant visits. There are good things happening in steel manufacturing today. The relationship between management and production workers is one of the keys to a firm's success, and you capture its importance very well.”

Frank Giarratani, Chairman, Economics Dept., University of Pittsburgh

“The film provides an excellent message for unions and managements who are trying to find better ways to compete in the world economy.”

Frank O'Sullivan, President, O'Sullivan Associates, Kennett Square, PA

“An interesting case study of labor-management relations in transition. Provides an informative first-hand look at the prospects and challenges of cooperative programs at the workplace level.”

Daniel G. Gallagher, Professor of Management, James Madison University

“Good movie. Showed some innovative ways for companies and unions to work together.”

Scott Kusmierczak, Industrial Relations Dept., Union Electric Company, St. Louis, MO



Working Together: Saturn and the UAW (1994)

“A dynamic video for discussion in management classes. It raises a host of significant and lively issues for discussion, and the video does this in a most equitable way.”

Stephen Fuller, Professor of Management, University of Ohio

“This documentary presents in a most competent and worthwhile way a very significant step ... taken by the world's largest manufacturing corporation.”

Jaroslav Vanek, Professor of Economics, Cornell University

“A most interesting summary of one of the most important new labor- relationship management models of the past 20-30 years in the auto industry.”

David Cole, Director, Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation, University of Michigan

“An excellent video ... It shows how the most advanced methods of labor- management cooperation and quality improvement can create a world-class result.”

John Simmons, Labor Consultant, Participation Associates, Chicago

Rating -- “No punches are pulled in explaining that historically GM had a reputation for being a very hard-nosed employer that treated its employees like robots, disciplined them harshly, and was willing to endure a very costly strike in lieu of compromising over a difference of a single penny per hour in wages.”

Video Rating Guide for Libraries



Unions in Crisis (1993)

“Engaging and remarkably authentic, Unions in Crisis takes a viewer back, around, and forward in a history as vital as any we need to know if we are to shape a finer future for the nation's workers and employers alike.”

Arthur B. Shostak, Professor of Sociology, Drexel University

“Unions in Crisis was topical, informative, and stimulated excellent discussion and debate in my economics classes.”

Deb Figart, Associate Professor of Economics, Richard Stockton College

“It will be useful in my principles of micro course and my labor economics course. The presentation was nicely objective.”

Ross Miller, Assistant Professor of Economics, Ohio State University - Lima

Rating -- “The use of original footage allows students to see historical moments, like John L. Lewis' reaction to the Centralia mine disaster. This scene, along with footage of other key players in union history, make the narration become more than just something that happened long ago.”

Video Rating Guide for Libraries



Union Democracy (1987)

“Very informative in both its discussion of the Wagner and Landrum-Griffin Acts.”

David Heiser, Staff Labor Relations, NBC

“An even-handed analysis of the many 'red-hot' issues which have confronted observers of the American labor-management scene within the last 50 years.”

Joel Jacobson, former president of the New Jersey Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO, in Labor Studies Journal

“A useful tool in the hands of activists who are on the firing line.”

Victor Reuther, retired UAW official

“An excellent film on union democracy. It asks the right questions of the right people.”

William Kornblum, Professor of Sociology, Graduate School of the City of New York

“An important contribution to educating union members to the democratic principles that are embodied in the labor movement.”

John Russo, Labor Studies Coordinator, Youngstown State University



Givebacks (1983)

“An excellent film to stimulate discussion on the whole subject of

Donald Grunewald, Professor of Management, Iona College

“All told, Givebacks is an excellent work.”

Franklin J. Havliceck, Vice President of Industrial Relations, The Washington Post

“A remarkable grass-roots-style summary of upper-level negotiations between unions and management.”

Thomas Gregory Jr., Ironworkers Political Action Committee, Local 33,
Rochester, NY


Crisis Bargaining (1979)

“An excellent introduction to the issues raised in public-sector collective bargaining.”

Franklin J. Havlicek, Vice President of Industrial Relations, The Washington Post



Loose Bolts? (1973)

“I recommend this film to anyone interested in the study of worker attitudes.”

Paul Marshall, Professor of Management, Harvard Business School

“The filmmaker is skillful and perceptive in portraying the boredom and hopelessness of the men in this factory.”

Roberta Peterson, Film Library Quarterly



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Belmont,   MA 02478

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