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SHOP-FLOOR LABOR ORGANIZATION IN ARGENTINA FROM EARLY PERONISM TO THE “PROCESO” MILITARY DICTATORSHIP

Authors

  • Victoria Basualdo

    Corresponding author
    1. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO Argentina)
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  • Victoria Basualdo holds a PhD in History from Columbia University in New York, and currently she is a Researcher at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and Professor at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO Argentina). She specializes in Latin American economic and labor history, and wrote articles and chapters on the subject as well as the book La industria y el sindicalismo de base en la Argentina (2010). She also coordinated the volumes Transformaciones recientes en la economía argentina. Tendencias y perspectivas (2008, with Karina Forcinito) and La clase trabajadora argentina en el siglo XX: experiencias de lucha y organización (2011).

Dr Victoria Basualdo, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO Argentina) Ayacucho 555 (C1026AAC), oficina 35, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Telephone: 54 11 5238-9389. Fax: 54 11 4375-1373. Email: vbasualdo@flacso.org.ar; basuvic@yahoo.com.ar.

Abstract

This article focuses on a crucial 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). 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 early 1940s to the early 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 onward. Third, it contends that these shop-stewards and CI experienced tensions and contradictions, some of which were related to those present within the Argentine industrial working class. Finally, it underlines the importance of taking into account this rich history of shop-floor organization to understand the strength of the Argentine labor movement in this period.

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