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"The Last Pullman Car" is a classic study in the ongoing battle American workers face each and every day, no matter what occupation they hold. The Pullman-Standard factories (located in Chicago, Illinois and Hammond, Indiana) at one time were thriving industrial plants manufacturing passenger railroad cars for companies like AMTRAK. In fact, the Hammond plant once had a total workforce of 8,000 men and women. But in the late 1970's, this "American Dream" turned into a lasting nightmare that some workers never awoke from. This film does not pull any punches. In fact, this film may be too upsetting to those who witnessed first-hand just how much the American worker (union or otherwise) has lost over the last few decades. I, personally, worked at both plants during the time when Pullman- Standard started closing them. The despair the people have in this film was real. Their uncertain future hits home to many, since closings such as Pullman's have been commonplace for quite awhile now. Whether you work in a factory, mill, office building, or wherever, this unrelenting nightmare might happen to you. And this film surely makes you feel like you are up to your neck in it!
This is a fascinating documentary for anyone interested in the problems
Labor Unions have been having for the past 25 years.
The Pullman Car Company once made luxury passenger train cars. Problems begin when the assets of the company are purchased by a corporation with diversified interests. The "numbers" men running this corporation have no interest in the business itself and threaten to shut it down.
Also troublesome is the lack of support the local chapter receives from the national organization. National representatives are unwilling to even discuss a contract offered by the company which contains many concessions that violate principals that unions traditionally fight for. They appear willing to sacrifice the local to avoid setting a precedent of giving in on these issues.
There is little narration. The film's point of view is that of a fly on a wall listening and watching the players involved. In spite of this apparent lack of "art", the demise of the local unfolds with a dramatic structure similar to that of a work of fiction. Feelings of anger and frustration are gradually transformed to apathy and resignation.
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