As means to achieve my PhD degree, I intend to study a broad collection of grievances that were filed by railroad worker from Chicago between 1946 and 1958. After a review of the literature on the functioning of the collective bargaining, I characterize the grievances' main fields of study. As point of departure, I exam the Industrial Relations field and how it understood the bargaining procedure through a narrative of consensus between managers, unions and state. Then, I present the critics of such perspective. First, the Critical Legal Studies critique of the postwar collective bargaining as a means to the domination of the working class by the state and the economic elites. Second, the reinforcement of such paradigm in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s by the New Labor History and its New Deal Order concept, notwithstanding its focus on the study of workers' agency in American history. Third, the gender and race approaches to labor history, proposed in the mid-1980s and 1990s as a result of the development of feminist and African-American identity politics, which questioned the broad perception of the domination entailed in the collective bargaining and saw the negotiation procedure as one of the ways, even if limited, available to workers to fight for its rights and own benefit. Finally, I try to indicate that, even though the broad range of historical analysis on the collective bargaining, there has not been yet a systematic approach to grievances' records. Hereof, I aim to do such survey by articulating a quantitative analysis by developing a database that can extract the general features on how the workers used the grievance procedure with a close reading of the records, in a way that I can apprehend through the workplace conflicts the workers' individual experiences in connection with the social condition of the working class of the period in question.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: