Have Angels Done More? The Steel Industry Consent Decree

56 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2004 Last revised: 6 Nov 2021

See all articles by Casey Ichniowski

Casey Ichniowski

Columbia Business School - Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 1981


This study analyzes the Consent Decree of the United States' basic steel industry which reformed plant seniority systems to accommodate issues of equal employment opportunity. The plant-by-plant litigation brought under Title VII and Executive Order 11246 is shown to be the main catalyst which brought representatives of the steel industry, of the United Steel Workers of America, and of the appropriate government agencies to negotiate this industry-wide solution. The principal terms of the steel industry Consent Decree are: the establishment of a mechanism to implement the Decree; the uniform institution of plant-wide seniority; the retention of pay rates after transfer to a position that provides a lower pay rate than the previous position; the establishment of goals for minority representation in trade and craft jobs; and a back pay settlement. The analysis of these provisions reveals two related points. Black representation in trade and craft jobs increased in the four year period after the Decree, with an indication that the increase was greater than pre-1974 employment trends would have predicted. However, 1978 black/white employment figures indicate that underutilization of blacks in these positions still persists.

Suggested Citation

Ichniowski, Bernard E. (Casey), Have Angels Done More? The Steel Industry Consent Decree (May 1981). NBER Working Paper No. w0674, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=349080

Bernard E. (Casey) Ichniowski (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

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New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

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