BC Professor Publishes Account of 1984 Dayton Poultry Strike

January 08, 2015

An associate professor of economics at Bridgewater College has published an account of a quarrelsome 1984 poultry strike at the Marval plant in Dayton, Va.

Dr. David C. Huffman’s article, “Labor Relations in the Shenandoah Valley: The Marval Poultry Strike of 1984,” appears in the 2014 edition of the Virginia Economic Journal, which is published by the Virginia Association of Economists.

“The Shenandoah Valley historically has had relatively low rates of unionization and strike activity,” said Huffman. “One of the most contentious occurred in 1984 at the Marval poultry plant in Dayton after an ownership change in 1981 resulted in a deteriorating relationship between the United Food and Commercial Workers union and plant management.”

Huffman’s article traces the history of the plant’s unionization – which began in 1961 – and its dust-up with management in 1984.

“This was at a time when, nationwide, management opposition to labor unions was increasing, and was aided by pro-management rulings by the National Labor Relations Board,” said Huffman. “The purpose of this article was to put the events into the context of what historically has been true of labor-management relations in the Valley, as well as in the context of changes in the national environment regarding labor-management relations.”