Books: Blue-Collar Catharsis

THE COMPANY AND THE UNION by WILLIAM SERRiN 308 pages. Knopf. $7.95.

The union was the United Auto Workers, an organization that regularly increases the liquidity of its strike fund by selling off gilt-edged securities. The company was General Motors, whose annual sales would constitute a gross national product bigger than that of, say, Switzerland or South Africa if it were a country instead of the largest business corporation on earth. When the U.A.W. struck GM for two grim months in 1970, the U.S. economy nearly stopped dead in its tracks.

Was anything actually settled by the costliest strike in U.S. history? Not...

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