Thursday, March 27, 2014

Capital Moves--#20 finished

The complete title is Capital Moves:  RCA's 70 Year Quest for Cheap Labor.  A pretty good read about  how RCA, like most large companies I guess in a way, have shifted operations to where it has more control and cheaper labor.  The book starts talking about the huge facility in Camden, NJ and how it was all good with no labor issues.  Once strikes and more activist unions got inside the manufacturing complex, RCA started moving their manufacturing lines.  Bloomington, Indiana became the next major line and eventually headquarters moved to nearby Indianapolis, IN.  Same thing here, all was well for a while but eventually the unions & workers wanted more, also they were expensive.  RCA built and moved some lines to Memphis, TN but that was short-lived because of labor tension & this was also during the time of MLK assassination, Memphis was a kind of hotbed and RCA pulled out.  It was around this time the looked to Mexico.  The area across from El Paso, TX--Ciudad Juarez.  RCA was one of the earlier manufacturers to move there & it kept moving more from Bloomington over the years.    Same story in Mexico, eventually the workers wanted more but it took much longer for them to organize given the structure of unions in Mexico.  At this time though RCA gets sold off to a French company.  The book was written shortly after that so, doesn't really go into much of what happened since.  I know RCA label is still put on TVs, our newest TV is an RCA but I don't have the box and haven't crawled around it to see where made, but I think it is China.

This is one of those reads that make you think.  While any business is there to make a profit, this book is a good reminder that in the world of big business it is pretty much cold hearted profit.  The business doesn't really care about the workers especially the factory line workers so long as the business is in a place where they are easily replaced.  It is kind of a depressing read and it makes me wonder what the future of jobs will be here & in the world.

There are no copies in PBS and there is no WL for this book but for the paperback there is 2 WL.  I will post it and I figure it will move probably pretty soon.

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