Shop-floor Labor Organization in Argentina from Early Peronism to the "Proceso" Military Dictatorship
Working USA- The Journal of Labor and Society
Año: 2011 vol. 14 p. 305 - 332
This article focuses particularly on a key aspect of the Argentine labor movement that, in spite of its importance, has not been adequately examined by the existing historiography: the high degree of union structure penetration at the shop-floor level through means of shop-stewards and comisiones internas (CI). It argues that the extension and strength of shop-floor organization in the workplace and particularly in large-scale industrial factories was a central factor to explain the power of the working class in Argentina. Moreover, it contends that these shop-stewards and CI members not only were at the center of the conflict between labor and capital throughout the period, but that they also embodied tensions and contradictions within the industrial working class.The text is divided into three main sections. First, it provides a basic definition of shop-stewards and CI for the Argentine case. Second, it briefly analyzes the history of these bodies, from the 1940s to the 1980s, taking into account the most important structural transformations during this period, in particular the transition from an economic model driven by import-substituting industrialization from the 1930s to the mid-1970s, to a process of deindustrialization from that moment onwards. Third, it draws some conclusions regarding the importance and impact of shop-floor organization in the Argentine case.