The Wage Squeeze

Since the early 1980s, Briggs & Stratton Corp. has employed a host of tactics to fend off Japanese and other rivals. The company, which makes small engines for lawn mowers, wrung concessions from union workers, laid off white-collar ones, built a plant in Mexico, and sank millions into new automated equipment. The strategy worked. B&S turned a record profit in 1994 and is running 31% ahead this year. And the falling dollar has dampened any competitive threat.

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