Labor Unions

Mission Statement

Labor Unions serve the purpose of obtaining better working conditions,  they fight for higher wages, and are against minimum wage, and overtime without extra compensation. They strive to improve the social and political aspects of work. 

History: How It All Began

Labor Unions are known for protesting
During the Industrial Revolution, a time period which included much change in manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, etc. the first Labor union was founded by Philadelphia tailors. This group named themselves the "Knights of Labor," in 1869. In 1877, they led the first nationwide strike which included over one-hundred thousand workers. Federal troops had to be called to stop their protest, as it had become out of hand.

The IWW (International Workers of the World) originated in 1905. They were against Capitalism, or in other words, they wanted government involvement. They wanted the Socialist Party to become a major part of society, as it was based on cooperation and social service.

Labor Unions in the 1930's

United Auto Workers in Flint preparing for a historical strike
 In the early 1930's, there were about 3 million people committed to labor unions, which was a decrease by 2 million from the previous decade. Unemployment was high in this time frame, as the world was facing many issues what with The Great Depression.Throughout the many controversial issues occurring at the time, such as  receiving low pay, poor working conditions, but for those who worked in the manufacturing industry, the speed-up of assembly lines was an important issue for the workers. The United Auto Workers in Flint, Michigan started a sit-down strike on December 30th, 1936. This strike eventually ended with an agreement under General Motors. Their success inspired others across the nation, to follow in their footsteps. 

 Success or Failure?

Present-Day Strike in Washington D.C.
Labor Unions certainly reached many of their goals, and were satisfied with their achievements. In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards act outlawed child labor in the United States. In many cases, protests, strikes, and boycotts were a simple solution to the labor unions' problems. However, a majority of the Unions failed, and were not able to obtain jobs thereafter. In the present day, although many people had feared joining a Union, believing that they would be subject to job loss, the National Labor Relations Act was passed. This act gives you the legal right to join a Union, without having to lose your job, and start from scratch all over again.

One third of all U.S citizens belong to a union
Why is this topic important to you, me, or the rest of the world?
This topic is important because it affected the way workers are treated. Labor Unions fight for all sorts of benefits, such as: health, higher wages, and better working conditions. Without them, most of us might all still be earning minimum wage with no benefits, and might have to work in harsh conditions, with hardly any rights.