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Counter Action Frames: Employer Repertoires and the Union Menace in the Late Nineteenth Century

Jeffrey Haydu
Social Problems
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Aug., 1999), pp. 313-331
DOI: 10.2307/3097103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3097103
Page Count: 19
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Counter Action Frames: Employer Repertoires and the Union Menace in the Late Nineteenth Century
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Abstract

This article explores collective action frames associated with U.S. employer mobilization against unions in the late nineteenth century. The study makes several contributions to the literature on framing processes. First, it emphasizes that the interests and identities of counter-mobilizing elites are no less problematic than those of challengers. The character of labor protest did not in itself dictate how employers would construct the actors and issues at stake in industrial conflict. Second, it adds another explanation for why certain frames prevail, supplementing discussions of strategic framing and frame resonance. From among a larger repertoire of possibilities, proprietary employers adopted those anti-union frames that corresponded with diagnostic categories and identities constructed in other organizational settings. My focus here is on frames deployed in the arenas of municipal reform and status group formation as well as industrial relations. Finally, the case suggests that for elite counter-mobilization, the development of oppositional identities may also involve social closure, as higher status groups construct hierarchies of social honor.

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