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Unattainable paradise: American Labor's global activities and the petroleum workers during the cold war era

Geert Van Goethem UGent (2014) Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives, Proceedings.
abstract
One of the most remarkable pieces of history of the postwar international Labour movement concerns the International Federation of Petroleum and Chemical Workers (IFPCW). It was the only American-based International Trade Secretariat(ITS) which became very active on a global scale during its short-lived existence (1954-1975). This contribution attempts to address a series of issues raised in a recent study on the history of the IFPCW on the basis of additional research of primary sources. Research so far has been limited to the IFPCW archive itself. These issues include the relationship between IFPCW and the AFL/CIO international department, the work of various CIA ‘front agencies’ within the framework of the international and American labor movement, the discussions about the organization of petroleum workers within the ICFTU, the development of labour standards for the oil industry by the ILO, and the manipulation of the ILO by both the WFTU and IFPCW while they were scrambling for influence in the oil-producing countries. Recent research on the global activities of the American trade union movement (AFL/CIO) has been conducted mainly from a geographical perspective. The example of the petrol industry and the IFPCW gives us the opportunity to adopt an industrial/sectoral approach, which easily allows to bring a transnational and global perspective to this topic. This shift in focus also offers the opportunity to explore another key issue which puzzles labour historians, i.e. the waning influence of labour internationally – an unmistakable fact - from the mid-seventies onwards. The latter were vital to western industrial nations in the short twentieth century. Trade unions, by exerting control over the workforce, were important partners in shaping domestic and foreign policy. From the mid-seventies onwards, this has changed. Détente, increasing globalization and decolonization processes became the breeding ground for neo-liberal economic policies and this resulted in the workers movement being sidelined both culturally and politically. The example of the oil industry includes all these elements and therefore very well serves the purpose of exploring the issues mentioned above.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keyword
Aden, oil industry, American labor history, cold war, Egypt.
in
Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives, Proceedings
pages
28 pages
conference name
Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives
conference location
Padova, Italy
conference start
2014-10-23
conference end
2014-10-24
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
5738033
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-5738033
date created
2014-10-27 09:51:36
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:37:47
@inproceedings{5738033,
  abstract     = {One of the most remarkable pieces of history of the postwar international Labour movement concerns the International Federation of Petroleum and Chemical Workers (IFPCW). It was the only American-based International Trade Secretariat(ITS) which became very active on a global scale during its short-lived existence (1954-1975). This contribution attempts to address a series of issues raised in a recent study on the history of the IFPCW on the basis of additional research of primary sources. Research so far has been limited to the IFPCW archive itself.  These issues include the relationship between IFPCW and the AFL/CIO international department, the work of various CIA {\textquoteleft}front agencies{\textquoteright} within the framework of the international and American labor movement, the discussions about the organization of petroleum workers within the ICFTU, the development of labour standards for the oil industry by the ILO, and the manipulation of the ILO by both the WFTU and IFPCW while they were scrambling for influence in the oil-producing countries. Recent research on the global activities of the American trade union movement (AFL/CIO) has been conducted mainly from a geographical perspective. The example of the petrol industry and the IFPCW gives us the opportunity to adopt an industrial/sectoral approach, which easily allows to bring a transnational and global perspective to this topic. This shift in focus also offers the opportunity to explore another key issue which puzzles labour historians, i.e. the waning influence of labour internationally  -- an unmistakable fact - from the mid-seventies onwards. The latter were vital to western industrial nations in the short twentieth century. Trade unions, by exerting control over the workforce, were important partners  in shaping  domestic and foreign policy. From the mid-seventies onwards, this has changed. D{\'e}tente, increasing globalization and decolonization processes became the breeding ground for neo-liberal economic policies and this resulted in the workers movement being sidelined both culturally and politically. The example of the oil industry includes all these elements and therefore very well serves the purpose of exploring the issues mentioned above.},
  author       = {Van Goethem, Geert},
  booktitle    = {Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives, Proceedings},
  keyword      = {Aden,oil industry,American labor history,cold war,Egypt.},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Padova, Italy},
  pages        = {28},
  title        = {Unattainable paradise: American Labor's global activities and the petroleum workers during the cold war era},
  year         = {2014},
}

Chicago
Van Goethem, Geert. 2014. “Unattainable Paradise: American Labor’s Global Activities and the Petroleum Workers During the Cold War Era.” In Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives, Proceedings.
APA
Van Goethem, Geert. (2014). Unattainable paradise: American Labor’s global activities and the petroleum workers during the cold war era. Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives, Proceedings. Presented at the Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives.
Vancouver
1.
Van Goethem G. Unattainable paradise: American Labor’s global activities and the petroleum workers during the cold war era. Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives, Proceedings. 2014.
MLA
Van Goethem, Geert. “Unattainable Paradise: American Labor’s Global Activities and the Petroleum Workers During the Cold War Era.” Labor Politics in the Oil Industry : New Historical Perspectives, Proceedings. 2014. Print.