Labor Unions


: Aging Dinosaur or Sleeping Giant?
The Labor Movement and Unionism Background and Brief History
Higher wages! Shorter workdays! Better working conditions! These famous words echoed throughout the United States beginning in “1790 with the skilled craftsmen” (Dessler, 1997, p. 544). For the last two-hundred years, workers of all trades have been fighting for their rights and “seeking methods of improving their living standards, working conditions, and job security” (Boone, 1996,p.287). As time went by, these individuals came to the conclusion that if they work together collectively, they would grow stronger to get responses to their demands. This inspired into what we know today as . ...

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of a craft union is the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (World, 1998). On the other hand, an industrialized union “is a group of workers who have a variety of skills and job types but work for the same industry” (Parkin, 1998, p. 344). Unions of this type include the United Steelworkers, United Auto Workers, and the United Transportation Union (Boone, 1996).
History from the 1870’s to 1900’s. The first national union founded in Philadelphia in 1869 in the pre-Civil War period was the Knights of Labor, which “intended to include all workers” (Encyclopedia, 1996, p. 630). For a decade, this organization grew at a slow pace due to operating in secrecy until the failure of railroad strikes that increased membership to over 700,000 in 1886 (Robinson, 1985). Their advance and efforts had persuaded legislation to enact the following laws: “abolition of convict-made goods, establishment of bureaus of labor statistics, and prohibition of the importation of European ...

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and Tin Workers was eliminated from the steel industry” (Robinson, 1985, p. 58).

History from 1905 to 1920. In 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) challenged the AFL, prior to the depression of the 1930’s. The IWW invited the unskilled and semiskilled workers that the AFL had denied and was a success from 1910 to 1915 (Encyclopedia, 1996). The results of this had decreased the AFL membership for a short period of time, but they fought back by bringing unskilled workers into the craft unions (Encyclopedia, 1996). The IWW had disappeared by the middle of World War I.
During World War I, membership of unions had increased-- particularly those “industries involved in ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 2/3/2006 05:03:54 PM
Category: World History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 10046
Pages: 37

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