When the screen goes blank: A television plant closing and its impacts on workers


Using survey and interview information, the impacts of job loss on former employees of a Zenith Corporation plant in Springfield, Missouri, are identified and placed in the context of existing research findings. Even in the "New Economy" period of national economic expansion and in a robust local job market, many displaced workers endured significant drops in earnings and benefits and experienced decreased work satisfaction. Although women took longer than men to become reemployed, displacement did not lead more women than men to withdraw permanently from the labor force. Additionally, the plant closing led some workers to adopt more critical attitudes toward big business and government and to strengthen their support of organized labor. A model that predicts perceived negative impacts of displacement and links them to disaffection with business and government is presented. The study also explores reasons why programs for displaced Zenith workers were not broadly effective and suggests ways that such programs could be reformed to be of greater use for future dislocated workers.


Sociology and Anthropology

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Sociological Quarterly