Between Denmark and Detroit: Unionized labour at Ford Motor Company, Copenhagen, 1919-1939

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In 1919, Ford Motor Company established its first assembly plant on the European mainland in Copenhagen, Denmark. Based on a Fordist productive model, including technology and materials from Detroit, cars were manufactured and exported to most of Northern Europe.
It has been claimed that Ford also transferred its principles of industrial relations to Europe, including a ban on trade unions. But as the article demonstrates, the Copenhagen factory was completely unionized, and the unions were able to establish collective bargaining for a period.
On the other hand, several factors, including internal splits among the workers caused by the Fordist production methods, worked against the unions over time. The end result was a hybrid between Detroit methods and Danish traditions of industrial relations.
The changing character of this hybrid is traced through the shifting relations of power between unions, local management and the Ford Motor Company.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLabor History
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)326-345
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Fordism
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Industrial relations
  • Auto industry
  • Labour history

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