American Union Labor History

In: Business and Management

Submitted By WhatsItToYa
Words 426
Pages 2
Good evening everyone, I came here tonight prepared to speak with you all about American Labor Union History going back to the Eighteenth Century. Due to time restraints, I am now being asked to give you the top three most important events in American Labor Union History. There have been so many significant events, picking the three most important is a very difficult task. However, I will rise to the occasion and give you lovely folks what I believe to be the three most important events in American Labor Union History. The three I will speak briefly about are; the formation of The Knights of Labor in 1885, The Wagner Act of 1935, and the merger between AFL and the CIO creating the AFL-CIO in 1955. The foundation of The Knights of Labor is especially significant because this was the first time in American Labor Union History that there was an attempt to form one large general union. The early years of The Knights of Labor were very successful. This union offered membership to skilled and non-skilled workers as well as women and African Americans. Between 1885 and 1886 nearly 600,000 members joined under leader Terence Powderly seeking eight hour work days, equal pay, and to do away with child labor. The Knights won a major strike against the Wabash Railroad which led to the quick increase in membership. However, by the late 1880’s the organization was practically extinct due to lack of leadership for such an overwhelming quick increase in membership .
The Wagner Act of 1935 had a very positive impact on unionization. The Act gave workers the legal right to organize and bargain collectively with their employers. This was the first time the government was supportive of union activity and it brought many union members back after the Great Depression of 1929. The merge between the AFL which stands for the American Federation of Labor and the CIO…...

Similar Documents

Labor Unions

...Labor Unions — Are They Still Relevent Labor Unions were formed in the mid-19th century in response to the changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution. The labor unions were established to help workers with low pay, unsafe working conditions and long hours—to name a few. Their main goal was to ensure that all working people were treated justly in the work force. “Working people have a lot of concerns in this economy. They want decent pay. They want benefits. And of course they want job security. All the reasons why they need union representation” (Crane, 2012). Is that statement still true today? Do labor unions want the best for the working person or are unions another example of something good gone bad? Many people believe Labor Unions were essential in the 19th century but now with government oversight and business practices, unions are no longer required. Labor Unions Needed Agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions during the Industrial Revolution. As the revolution progressed, business moved from a mom-and-pop model to a machine-and-factory production model. Families quickly moved from the rural areas to the cities. They hoped to improve their standard of living. This meant ever member of the family had to work, regardless of sex or age. People worked for long hours for low wages, in dangerous and repetitive conditions, and with little-to-no......

Words: 2423 - Pages: 10

Labor Unions

...Labor unions have a long and colorful history in the United States. To some people, they conjure up thoughts of organized crime and gangsters like Jimmy Hoffa. To others, labor unions represent solidarity among the working classes, bringing people together across many professions to lobby for better rights, wages and benefits. As of 2006, 15.4 million people were union members, and although union membership peaked in 1945 when 35 percent of the nonagricultural workforce were union members, unions are still a powerful influence in the United States (and even more powerful in many other countries). (Silverman, J., 2012) They are also an important and fundamental part of the history of United States commerce and the country’s growth into an economic powerhouse. Unions began forming in the mid-19th century in response to the social and economic impact of the industrial revolution. National labor unions began to form in the post-Civil War Era. The Knights of Labor emerged as a major force in the late 1880s, but it collapsed because of poor organization, lack of effective leadership, disagreement over goals, and strong opposition from employers and government forces. (Silverman, J., 2012) The American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886 and led by Samuel Gompers until his death in 1924, proved much more durable. It arose as a loose coalition of various local unions. (Silverman, J., 2012) It helped coordinate and support strikes and eventually became a major player in national......

Words: 2547 - Pages: 11

Labor Laws and Unions

...The National Football League consists of two conferences, the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. These conferences consist of 32 teams are divided into four divisions. The NFL players union was first formed as a result of poor conditions involving health care and threats to a player’s livelihood in the event of injury. Over time several events were instrumental in establishing the essential benefits that players have today. This paper will outline background information on the NFL while identifying some legal issues that the organization may encounter while determining which federal, state, or local laws could be affected as a result of these legal issues. Recommendations to minimize possible litigation will be provided along with addressing the organizations benefits of joining a union along with detailing the unionization and bargaining process and the effects this has on the organization. Professional football has become the most prevalent sport in America and the NFL has become the most prized sports enterprise in the world. The league sold more than 17 million game tickets in 2008 and an estimated three-quarters of the American population watched at least one NFL game on television (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). The NFL season culminates with a championship game; The Super Bowl held in February and has become one of the most popular happenings in American pop culture history. This has not been always the case. During its inception in...

Words: 937 - Pages: 4

American Labor Union History

...The reasons for an individual to join a union varies with the individual. In theory this relates to the whole human race. People have satisfied needs and unsatisfied needs includes physiological, safety, social and higher needs. Physiological needs are more of a satisfied basic need and is presumably in a hierarchy. However, in our economy people are finding it extremely difficult to satisfy those basic needs. Although in the past, before minimum wage and other legal protections the unions promises appealed to many workers. The unemployed workers were also frustrated trying to meet their basic needs; food, clothing, and shelter, were not logical candidates for unionism. Thus, with this reason studies have shown that this is not the primarily logical reason that people join unions. As people have perceived arbitrary action by management, have found the union organization appealing. This need of job safety for employees was put into the contract. Individuals wanted to be protected against arbitrary, danger and threat. For this reason the union has given assurance to the people. Social needs are also an important motivator for workers to join the union. People have found interacting with others like themselves and can relate to them comforting. Unions have also sponsored activities such as retreats, athletic and adult educational programs for members only. Thus, in order to participate, you have to be a member. Some individuals join through social pressure. As a worker......

Words: 375 - Pages: 2

Labor Unions in Sports

...Labor Unions in Sports Willie C Williams Webster University Labor Unions in Sports Labor unions can trace its roots to the mid-19th century during the industrial revolution. Around the end of the Civil War national unions began to form beginning with the American Federation of Labor in 1886. These unions were created to protect and collectively bargain with employers on things such as wages, benefits, and working conditions for its members. Prior to labor unions, employee rights were nonexistent. Unions progressively began to get stronger and stronger through passed legislation and also through the increased amount of participation. In 1954 union membership hit an all-time high 35% of overall employees in America. Since the passing of bills such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991 union participation as steadily declined. These Acts gave greater protection to employees and therefore nullifying the need for unions. The one place were unions are thriving is in the world of professional sports. Currently National Football League (NFL, and Major League Baseball (MLB) have player unions and each one has worked to help create better opportunities for players in their prospective leagues. MLB Major league baseball players were the first players to organize as a union. In 1965 several baseball players hired Marvin Miller, a respected economist from United Steelworkers Association to mold the players into a union. Mr. Miller helped the players negotiate their......

Words: 820 - Pages: 4

Labor Unions

...Labor Unions University of Phoenix MGT434: Employment Law Scott Dunlap February 7, 2008 Labor organizations or unions are formed by employees who want better wages, benefits, and healthy working conditions. Over the years, participation in unions has declined regardless of the benefits it offers. There are less strikes and better wages in the United States which in turn does not warrant the high need for these types of organizations in the work place. Labor unions today compared to in the past have fewer members and are more populated by political parties and public sector employees. During the implementation of unions, the labor force consisted heavily of automobile and steel plant workers. This has decreased due to outsourcing these jobs to foreign countries (AFL-CIO, 2004). Americans have also seen a decrease in highly-skilled jobs due to outsourcing. The United States Government current push on company’s to send these skilled jobs offshore, in return for a tax break, is hurting the economy and trade deficit. While jobs are increasing in foreign countries workers rights are not. Wages are low and employees do not have the respect and healthy work conditions as most American unions. According to a petition filed with the U.S. Trade Representative by the AFL-CIO and Industrial Union Council, the United States has lost more than 1 million jobs because of constant violations of workers rights in China (AFL-CIO, 2006). Countries with low wages or no minimum wages......

Words: 602 - Pages: 3

Labor Unions

...Labor Unions Objective Labor unions in the United States have been prevailing forces in the workplace since their establishment in the late 1800’s. The two main purposes for unions are union security and overall improvement in wages, working conditions and benefits for their members. While only 12% of the U.S. workforce today is under union contract; they still are establish a presence by way of strikes, mediation and impasses. Unions will form when employees believe that company management is practicing unfair labor standards and acts and will take action accordingly to meet their goals. This report will look into the history and implications labor unions have had on the U.S. workforce and what they mean for both companies and employees alike in today’s world. General History Famous Labor Strikes The Great Postal Strike of 1970 involved 200,000 postal workers who walked off the job to protest their pay rates, which when accounted barely surpassed the average cost of living in the United States during that time period (in accordance with inflationary rates). President Nixon sent 23,000 U.S. army and marine personnel to handle the mail system, but that failed due to the limited training they possessed working with the massive government operation. Within a week, the government reached an agreement with the worker’s union, allowing for a 14% pay raise for postal workers. As a result, the American Postal Workers Union became a powerful force in......

Words: 2274 - Pages: 10

Labor Union

...Labor Unions in the United States Posted Mon, 2010-02-01 17:21 by Anonymous Gerald Friedman, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Unions and Collective Action In capitalist labor markets, which developed in the nineteenth-century in the United States and Western Europe, workers exchange their time and effort for wages. But even while laboring under the supervision of others, wage earners have never been slaves, because they have recourse from abuse. They can quit to seek better employment. Or they are free to join with others to take collective action, forming political movements or labor unions. By the end of the nineteenth century, labor unions and labor-oriented political parties had become major forces influencing wages and working conditions. This article explores the nature and development of labor unions in the United States. It reviews the growth and recent decline of the American labor movement and makes comparisons with the experience of foreign labor unions to clarify particular aspects of the history of labor unions in the United States. Unions and the Free-Rider Problem Quitting, exit, is straightforward, a simple act for individuals unhappy with their employment. By contrast, collective action, such as forming a labor union, is always difficult because it requires that individuals commit themselves to produce "public goods" enjoyed by all, including those who "free ride" rather than contribute to the group effort. If the union succeeds, free......

Words: 10531 - Pages: 43

Labor Unions

...Abstract The goal of unions is to band together and protect employee rights. The paper begins with an introduction as to the purpose of the labor union. The question is also posed if labor unions are a necessity in today’s society. The paper begins with an interesting look at the history of labor unions. The paper explores how the Industrial Revolution and Haymaker Riot were instrumental in the formation of labor unions. The history of the two largest labor unions is explored. Next some basic information is given on labor unions such as who can join and the benefits associated with joining a labor union. The paper then shifts to look at legislation that governs the formation and policies in a labor union. More specifically, the National Labor Relations Act, National Labor Relations Board, Taft-Hartley Act, and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 are explored in detail. The paper will then examine the most common ways an HR employee will interact with the union. This is discussed through grievances and collective bargaining agreement. The process for both of these is examined in detail including which parts of the collective bargaining agreement are mandatory and permissive issues. Next, the paper explores the process a HR manager would go through in order to keep a healthy, happy, and productive relationship with the union. Finally the paper reexamines whether labor unions are necessary in today’s society. A conclusion is drawn......

Words: 4404 - Pages: 18

Labor Unions

...Labor Laws Institution A good chunk of employees believe that they are not acceptable because of the tough laws. It is based on the simple fact the employers have enforced such the laws to help them stay out of trouble. There is also the state laws that employees must have a civilized operational atmosphere that would guarantee that all employees’ privileges are valued. Fundamentally, labor laws have been ratified in a proposal to safeguard that employees are pleased in their work spaces regardless of their positions. Employers are always pleased in situations in accordance with which they control the lives of their workers by imposing rules that bulk of the work forces cannot adhere. Naturally, labor laws do not take care of the country’s privileges according to the environment of their civilization. Nevertheless, companies have been unsuccessful to understand that their arrangements discourage workers’ performance, which leads to reduced revenue for the entire firm (Sloan, 2009). Mainly, establishments have to respect worker human rights if they are to be competitive in their route of commerce and safeguard the corporation’s sustainability. Inherently, because employers refuse to adhere to the employees’ rights to be able to converse with their management to come up with a plan; this has caused laws and regulations to be born (Gompers, 2013, p. 222), which leads to low employee morale and incentive in their workplaces. Subsequently, the current United......

Words: 668 - Pages: 3

Labor Unions

...“Labour unions only exist today because government, and the law, has supported them since 1944. They engage in economically damaging strikes and do not served any useful function. Management should be allowed to manage and unions should be disbanded.”, I will show how labour unions still play an important role in labour relations with the following topics: I will explain the role of the state and how the development of labour laws support unions; how labour strikes socially and economically affect a union; the function of unions, and finally management’s right to manage within the union environment. To start, the state sets out rules pertaining to unionization and collective bargaining. By setting out these rules the state is accommodating the demand of the employees and in turn maintaining its legitimacy in the public’s opinions. (Athabasca University, 2015, pp. 2-4) The state also regulates the relationships between the employer and the employee by means of Labour Laws. These Labour Laws relate to the right of an employee to join a union and engage in the collective bargaining process. Under the Labour Law, employees are able to apply to the Labour Board to form a bargaining unit. Once the bargaining unit has been formed, the union will establish that they have signed the majority of the workers up to be union members. Once this has been established the union will be granted certification by the Labour Board and the employer will be required to recognize the union and......

Words: 1563 - Pages: 7

Labor Unions

...Labor Unions Labor unions are seen from conflicting points of view. Members stand firm behind them citing their positive contributions to the higher pay, improved working conditions, better benefits, and overall greater standards achieved through collective bargaining. Solidarity, a motto of unions, keeps members bonded to each other and the union through shared problems and experiences. Some corporations and economists believe that labor unions are cartels that create monopolies and regard them as a detriment to the capitalist vision. Antiunion opinions stem from the seemingly untouchable status of labor unions and the favor and protections given to them by the federal government. Labor unions are nearly as old as America herself. Although primitive unions of carpenters and other tradespeople made an appearance in various cities in colonial America, the first national labor unions didn’t gain strength until the 1820s. During this time, workers banded together to reduce the working day from a grueling 12 hours to a more manageable 10 hours. In 1866, the Nation Labor Union persuaded Congress to cut the workday down to today’s eight hour standard. As early as 1909 eastern European immigrant steel workers attempted demonstrations of solidarity for humane working conditions. However, due to language barriers they were exploited and easily divided (Brody 153). These early efforts, along with those of washwomen, factory, mill, and postal workers paved the road for labor......

Words: 1386 - Pages: 6

Labor Laws and Unions

...Labor Laws and Unions John T. Smith HRM/531 - Week XX XX January 20XX Joseph P. Stevens Labor Laws and Unions If one has not been living under a rock these past few years, he should be aware of General Motors (GM), once the greatest automobile manufacturer in the United States, fall from grace. It was not always so bad. According to GM’s website, GM was founded by William “Billy” Durant on September 16, 1908. Durant became a leading manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles in Flint, Michigan, before making his foray into the automobile industry. At its inception, GM held only the Buick Motor Company, but in a matter of years would acquire more than 20 companies, including Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Oakland, today known as Pontiac (General Motors, 2012). Two weeks shy of 101 years from the day it was founded, GM filed for bankruptcy and subsequently was bailed out by the Obama administration. The union that represents General Motor autoworkers is the United Auto Workers (UAW). The UAW does not represent automobile manufacturers themselves, but employees who work for them. The longer version of its name is, “The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.” According to UAW’s website, they are one of the largest and most......

Words: 859 - Pages: 4

Labor Unions

...Labor Unions play an essential role in representing the interests pertaining to the conditions of employment of every unionized employee. Also labor unions contribute tremendously in the continuous growth of the economy. There are common roles of the union and I will first explain Collective Bargaining. Second, I will show how in situations where an employer will not compromise to the satisfaction of the union, the union is able to implement certain actions by its members such as a strike, or a work to rule. Third, I will discuss how Prior to unionization, employers were able to take advantage of their employees by reducing pay, providing squalid working conditions, and dismissing employees at will in order to maximize company profit. Fourth, I will show that by the 1940 s, the rights of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively with employers were generally recognized and incorporated into law. Fifth, I will tell you the fact that unions are responsible for wage increases, management will respond by raising capital per worker and hiring better workers in order to increase productivity even further. Six, I will discuss the positive effect on productivity, and through wage increases to employees (providing more disposable income), unions are able to help ensure the continuing growth of the economy. Lastly, the Unions greatly benefit the workers as well as the economy as a whole. As long as democracy and capitalism are the continue to reign in our society, unions......

Words: 263 - Pages: 2

Three Major Eras in American Labor History

...There have been many years throughout American labor history that have changed the ways that the affected communities live. Many movements have shifted styles of working, changed the nature of the working-class life, and have brought about such things as unions that we still possess today. In particular there are three major eras that have brought about such changes and one that is of the most importance. The progressive era brought us many changes in the workforce along with changes in technology. Also the roaring twenties was a period that started with great wealth extravagance and ended in the great depression that changed the entire country. Then there was the 1930's where FDR proposed the New Deal and had great ideas of where to take the country. Each of these eras created significant differences in the way the people worked and lived and will be further discussed in detail. The progressive era began in the late 1890's with a depression that led to one of the greatest movements of the era, the Pullman strike. The Pullman strike was started because of the depression and because of the fact that George Pullman, the man who owned Pullman Palace Car Company, fired a third of his employees and then cut the wages of the rest by 25 to 40%. The worked were left with hardly anything to bring home and they met to organize this strike. It became a national strike because nearly every railroad had Pullmans and there was no other way to transport the goods across country. The......

Words: 1108 - Pages: 5