In 1921, at the urging of King and one of Rockefeller's most trusted personal employees, lawyer Raymond Fosdick, Rockefeller formed an industrial consulting group, Industrial Relations Counselors, Inc. in order to generalize the results of the experiences within the Rockefeller-influenced companies and develop a program of research on industrial relations. (The organization was usually called the IRC at the time and will be so named in the remainder of this document.) The new consulting firm, the first of its kind according to labor historian Irving Bernstein (1960), began as a subgroup of Fosdick's law firm, which was on a retainer to Rockefeller. In 1926 it became an independent entity with a little over 20 employees, financed almost entirely by Rockefeller's personal fortune at the cost of about $1.3 million a year in 2012 dollars (Gitelman 1988, pp. 33ff). The group was soon doing highly detailed studies of labor relations in Rockefeller-related companies, providing reports (available through the Rockefeller Archives) that clearly stated any faults its investigators found and included suggestions to improve working conditions and labor relations. It strongly advocated employee representation plans and identified those foremen and executives that treated workers harshly (see Kaufman 2009, for a detailed analysis of IRC reports on companies and for its general impact on how managers treated employees in the workplace).


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