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Strike in the American Standoff Documentary

The main actors in the conflict in the American Standoff film

American Standoff is a documentary film that contains a true reflection of a modern labor strike. The film is documented by Barbara Kopple. Kristi Jacobson is the director of the film. The film presents a tale of Teamsters strike. It endeavors to show how their lives are adversely affected by the strike against the Overnite Transportation Company. Viewers of the film have two facts to acknowledge about the labor unions at the time. First, a substantial decline of labor unions in America is witnessed. Secondly, a decline in the labor movement in America is evident.

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The film presents two parallel stories. It captures the strike by the truck drivers of the Overnite firm while showing the challenges faced by Teamsters under the leadership of James Hoffa. The film ably narrates the first story by showing the union’s determination to defend the workers in the company. The filmmakers portray sympathy for the workers and the union. The lines of conflict in the film are blurred. The conflict emanates from a strike by Teamsters against the Overnite Transportation Company. The conflict in the film demonstrates the failure of the United States labor laws to safeguard the rights of workers. A worker seeking a union contract is involved in constant labor battles. The film rotates around the lives of ordinary American citizens. The film presents two main actors. First, workers with a burning desire to end erratic schedules and poor working conditions. Secondly, the union leaders are used to fighting for workers’ rights. On the other hand, the demands of the workers in the film were frustrated by the employer not allowing unions. The second actor in the film is the Overnite Transportation Company.

The issues that lead up to the strike

The film shows workers who are dissatisfied with the employer’s lack of dignity. The strike starts as a refusal by the workers to be subjected to shift cuts and unsafe working conditions. The workers show discontentment with being arbitrarily intimidated by the employer. The workers are forced to face the fear of being fired. The desire for better conditions led them to advocate for a union contract. The continued effort to fight for their rights is met with strong opposition by the employers. Their demands are profoundly opposed by the business leaders. The opposition was weakened by the passing of the National Labor Relations Act. The Act gave workers the right to form unions and participate in collective bargaining. The workers took five years to fight for the contract but in vain. After a long struggle for the contract, the union members called a strike.

The issues that arise during the strike

The Organizing Director of Teamsters is optimistic that the strike by workers can be defeated in three weeks. The company spends one hundred dollars to disorganize the union’s actions. The company is unable to defeat the strike after three weeks, and it is forced to hire truck drivers. The struggle by the union members to survive without pay is clearly illustrated by the film. The workers depended on donated foods to feed their families. The film does not concentrate on showing the suffering of the union members, but their willingness to take risks is well covered. The issue of violence is addressed in the film. Violence is used by both sides in the strike. The company uses violence to suppress the strike while the union members reiterate by destroying the company’s property. The union’s members demonstrate enormous responsibility of stopping illegal activities by striking workers. This lowered the level of violence, but the strike continued.

The effectiveness of the NLRB at resolving the conflict

The National Labor Relations Board was established to protect workers against the employer’s unfair practices. The board took six months after the strike to give its position on the complaints made against Overnite Company. It issued a statement indicating that the company had done 490 unlawful labor practices. According to the film, crucial challenges are witnessed in the National Labor Relation Board. The weaknesses associated with poor enforcement of labor laws are depicted in the film. Overnite Transportation Company opposes the charges through numerous appeals. The said appeals took a lot of years to be decided.

The end of the conflict in the film

The film ends at a time when the strike had lasted for two years. According to the film, there is no clear end to the strike. There is a continued commitment by the union members to continue with the strike. The strike was supported by ordinary people who had to sustain their families. There are indications that some workers returned to the Overtime Transportation Company. The film ends at a time when many workers look demoralized and desperate.

The end of the conflict in the real life

The film has made numerous omissions concerning the end of the strike and how the situation was resolved. The viewer is left in suspense about the end of the strike. The available internet literature shows that the striking members were ordinary citizens who could not withstand striking for years. In order to get money to feed their families, some workers went back to work at the Overnite Company. It is true to assert that the strike ended since those who started it had no strength to move on with it.

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