Case #309.0

Steel Seizure (A): Supplement

Publication Date: January 01, 1980
Current Stock:

Educator Access

A review copy of this case is available free of charge to educators and trainers. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to this material.

Permission to Reprint

Each purchase of this product entitles the buyer to one digital file and use. If you intend to distribute, teach, or share this item, you must purchase permission for each individual who will be given access. Learn more about purchasing permission to reprint.

In 1952, with steel deemed a necessity for national defense, the US faced the prospect of a national steelworkers' strike. This three-part case examines the Truman administration's response to the threatened strike and particularly Truman's attempt to seize the steel mills. Part A provides background on the administration, the Korean War, the American economy at the time, and the steel industry. The supplement to Part A provides further documentation of this material. Part B presents the decision of the Truman administration to seize the mills and the subsequent lower court decision that this was unconstitutional. Part C follows the ensuing strike, attempts at negotiation, and the Supreme Court decision finding seizure unconstitutional. The case concludes with the final settlement of the strike. The supplement to Part C contains excerpts from the Supreme Court ruling.

Learning Objective:
This case is useful for illustrating that the choice of a channel for political action (e.g., the courts vs. a congressional committee) has enormous strategic implications, and that the way a manager frames an issue (e.g., as a threat to national security vs. to collective bargaining) is equally important strategically. It can also support a more sophisticated discussion of political bargaining and conflict. Finally, it illustrates the paradox of a manager who is able to strengthen his own power by giving authority away to others.

Other Details

Case Author:
Thomas Hubbard, Thomas Balbitt
Faculty Lead:
Richard Neustadt
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States