Date of Award

5-16-1998

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Catherine Berheide

Second Reader

Gregory Pfitzer

Abstract

This paper examines the decline and changing nature of work in the manufacturing sector in a variety of industries located in the city of Glens Falls, New York. A small industrial city, Glens Falls has experienced an overall decline in population, the number of industries, plant locations, and total manufacturing employment. An examination of eleven companies, including the history and nature of operations, confirms a cycle of manufacturing job creation and job destruction which ebbs and flows based on the restructuring activities of companies including shifting, consolidating and closing plants as they strive to maintain and increase profitability. In the community of Glens Falls, this has resulted in an overall decline in manufacturing jobs. Interviews with individual workers with long work histories in manufacturing jobs provide perspective on the changing nature of their work as new machinery and automation of processes have been implemented. Several workers also recount their experiences in declining industries, the loss of their jobs, and their inability to obtain similar employment. The existence of fewer manufacturing job opportunities has permanently altered the availability of employment for displaced factory workers as well as the next generation of workers in this and other industrial cities.

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