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James Rinehart, Christopher Huxley, and David Robertson, Just Another Car Factory: Lean Production and its Discontents (Ithaca, NY: ILR Press 1997).
WHILE THE GLOBALIZATION of services captures much attention these days, we must not lose sight of the fact that the auto industry continues to be a lynch-pin of the North American economy. The strength of the auto sector in the 1990s derives from a combination of "innovations" involving all factors of production, but most crucial, an attempt to create a new work system called lean production. In Just Another Car Factory, a Canadian team of academic and union researchers provide a fascinating and very readable account of the promise and failure of "working lean."
CAMI is a joint venture between General Motors and Suzuki. The firm built a new factory in Ingersoll, Ontario, carefully recruited a relatively young workforce, and began production of sub-compact vehicles in 1989. The Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) represented the workers, making CAMI one of the few North American "transplants" to be unionized. The union figures prominently in this study. Indeed, the book …