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Abstract

This paper examines the struggle between labor and management at four, newly-opened supermarket/discount stores, culminating in a strike. It considers workplace control as an issue in the strike and its resolution. Edwards' typology of workplace control is reviewed, along with other indirect forms of control explored in recent literature. Workers complained most stridently about direct control mechanisms. Workers' objections to technical and bureaucratic control played only a minor part in workers' decision to strike and the work stoppage's outcome. Indirect controls, including customer and gender-specific control mechanisms, were seldom questioned or acknowledged by workers. On the other hand, both the union and management recognized that customer support can influence the course and outcome of a strike. The settlement of this eight-and-onehalf week strike resulted in slightly improved wages and benefits and modification of some elements of direct control

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