Marching Crowd - Picture

"There's no one better, no engineer or anyone better to tell you how to run that equipment out there in that plant than somebody that's there every single day doing it...

Dan Bailey - Picture

To not involve them in the management of the plant, I think, is a waste, a total waste of brain capacity."

– Dan Bailey, former local president, United Rubber Workers Union

Carl Harshman - Picture

"There was a sense out of the good leaders on both sides that they had lost something valuable. But politically the union simply couldn't walk back in and say, ‘Okay, all's forgiven.' "

– Carl Harshman, consultant on labor-management partnerships

Polaroid HQ - Picture


Running Time:
34:30 Minutes

Labor-management partnerships have been compared to marriages. It takes hard work to make them succeed. Even good partnerships struggle through hard times. If future partnerships are to succeed, it is important to learn from those that have run into trouble.

Troubled Partnerships is about crises and failures in labor-management partnerships. It includes case studies of two companies, Bridgestone and Polaroid, one unionized, the other not. Bridgestone had a good working relationship with the United Rubber Workers that collapsed after tough financial times and a change in management.

Polaroid developed an Employees' Committee that operated for 40 years as an illegal company union but was so popular that no one wanted to shut it down. However, the committee did not provide an independent voice for the employees and became an obstacle to changes management wanted to make.

Examples from four other companies and commentary by consultant Carl Harshman round out this 35-minute video's coverage of troubled partnerships.

"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

"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

"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."
– 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

Merrimack Films
530 Concord Ave.
Belmont,   MA 02478