This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

U.S. Labor History Essay

1806 words - 7 pages

U.S. Labor History

Unionism can be described as "a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment"(Smelser). This means that a group of workers can unite to gain more power and leverage in bargaining. The bargaining may include many aspects but usually consists of wages, benefits, terms and conditions of employment. The notion of union came about in the 1700's. In the beginning as it is today workers united to "defend the autonomy and dignity of the craftsman against the growing power of the company" (Montgomery).
These early unions had many names including societies, social societies and guilds. These primitive unions or guilds of carpenters, cordwainers, and cobblers made their appearance, often temporary, in cities around the east coast of colonial America. These group of workers were a far cry from what unions are today. They mainly focused on friendship and trust between the workers and management. The first recorded form of a union was a group called the "Friendly Society of Cotton Spinners, who in 1775 instructed its members not to work below the usual price" (Smith).

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence "in the pursuit of happiness" through higher wages and shorter work hours, printers were the first to go on strike, in New York in 1794; carpenters in Philadelphia in 1797, and cordwainers in 1799.
In the 1800's the construction of cotton mills brought about a new phenomenon in American labor. The owners needed a new source of labor to tend these water powered machines and looked to women. Since these jobs didn't need strength or special skills the owners hired women. They felt that women could do the same or a better job as the men and were more compliant. They began recruiting young women from the farms. To lure them to work in their factories they built houses where they could live. These houses were supervised by older women who made sure the girls lived by a high moral standard, and urged them to attended church, to read, to write and to attend lectures. The girls worked in the mills/factories from 12 to 13 hours a day, six days a week for $3.50 per week salary. On the other hand "male workers made 50 percent more than women. And white workers commanded significantly higher wages than African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, or Chinese"(Freeman).
The entry of a large number of women into the labor force led to raising the consciences of the hour of labors, "adding to the pool of unskilled workers, women and children made possible a fuller division of labor in lines of skill" (Roediger).

3

Around 1800 factories became more prevalent. Workers and employers no longer worked side by side. Employers were more concerned with the cost of labor than with the welfare
of the workers. As factories grew workers became more involved in forming unions to protect...

Find Another Essay On U.S. Labor History

Terence V. Powderly Essay

2133 words - 9 pages is the rich mine of information contained in the carefully arranged Powderly letter books and in the files of his voluminous correspondence. Newspaper Articles Roberts, M. (2001). Labor history. Monthly Labor Review, 124(10), 30. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/235659708?accountid=14214 Terence Powderly was recently added to the Labor Hall of Fame at the U.S. Department of Labor. Phelan argues that Powderly was "the first

Child Labor During The Industrial Revolution

1294 words - 5 pages During the 18 and beginning of the 19th century in certain regions of the U.S child labor made up more than 40 percent of the population (Wolensky). That’s almost half of the working population. Since the beginning of time children have always been known to help their families with domestic tasks. Most of these kids worked in factories because they were easy to control and paid less than adults. Kids earned less than half of what adults made in

The Past, Present and Future of Labor Unions

2270 words - 9 pages general, knowing the roots of it is the best way to start. In this paper, the progress of the labor unions throughout history, the issues faced the developments it achieved, laws passed and the problem faced by today’s unions will be tackled. Table of Contents I. Introduction………………………………………………………….…1 II. Historical Development of Labor Union in the United States a. The first unions………………………………………...…….…2 b. After the Civil War

Fashion Designer

722 words - 3 pages . "Fashion Designers." Fashion Designers. ISeek Solutions, 1999-2014. Web. 18 Jan. 2014. Harris, Brianna M." Personal Interview. 18 Jan. 2014. "How to Become One." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web. 18 Jan. 2014. "Job Outlook." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web. 18 Jan. 2014. "Occupation Profile for Fashion Designers." Fashion Designers. Careers.org, 1995-2014. Web. 18 Jan

The Labor Movement

2247 words - 9 pages The History of the Labor Movement Since the beginnings of industrialization in the United States, a struggle between the rights of individuals working in industry and manufacturing and the desire of the ownership of these endeavors to maximize profits has raged. As various eras in history passed, labor movements in the United States met with varying degrees of success. The fortunes of labor movements in the United States has ebbed and flowed

Influences of Immigration on U.S. Provinces

1106 words - 4 pages Over the years, immigrants influence the aspect of American life by shifting economic, political, and social policies due to their values and beliefs on these areas. This topic of influence raises public issue to whether or not U.S. should limit immigration quotas. On one hand, immigrants enable U.S. to compete in international competition and are one way to help alleviate labor shortages in certain demographic trends (Liebig, 2011

Historical Background of Labor Unions and Leaders

2426 words - 10 pages Introduction The history of labor unions dates back the late 1700’s. Without strong leadership, workers were rarely able to improve their wages or working conditions. However, as effective leaders began to emerge, labor became a force demanding to be recognized by business and the government. Change came slowly, but through the efforts of some forward-thinking union leaders, a great deal of change in the world of labor was finally achieved

The Need for International Labor Standards

3599 words - 14 pages multilateral trade negotiations. In addition, encouragement and support should be given to international institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the International Labor Organization in their efforts to institutionalize such practices. A Brief History of Labor Standards In order to provide a clearer understanding of the need for labor standards in the international trade regime it is prudent to examine the historical

Rise and Fall of US unions

1700 words - 7 pages , such as the National Labor Union, which was the first federation of U.S. unions. In the past, some unions used violence to promote the cause of unskilled labors such as the Seattle Riots back in the 1900s. In today's society, labor unions are generally more civil and use strikes and other peaceful demonstrations to negotiate with employers. However, today's union numbers are steadily declining and workers seem less interested in joining. While

International Labor - WIU

1680 words - 7 pages ? (3) Were the strikes industrywide, or were they only against selected employers? (4)Were the strikes wildcat (unannounced), or was there usually warning that they were coming? and (5) Do the unions and the workers abide bylabor agreements, and if not, what can the employer do (2006)?Labor unions vary greatly from one country to another. These differences lie with the source of support and are based largely on history. For example, European labor

History of Child Labor Practices in the United States

2632 words - 11 pages history has been proven to affect child. Through time society has done many thing to help prevent child labor. In the U.S. laws have been created to stop companies from underpaying their young employees, making sure they aren't hired too young, and to make sure their work is safe. Through time America has lowered their child labor rate, but in today's society it still remain. Every year, millions of teens work in part-time or summer jobs that

Similar Essays

U.S. Labor History Rise Of Industrial Unionism

1871 words - 7 pages money and power, thus unions relied heavily on the political climate in order to achieve their goals.Luckily, the political climate in 1935 was more conducive to labor and union change than any other time in U.S. history. There was a fundamental belief between the two governmental parties of that time when it came to labor in the early 20th century; conservatives were anti-labor and democrats were more so pro-labor. In terms of giving workers any

Organized Labor Laws And Their History In U.S., Covers Past, Present, And Prospective Future...3 Pages

1379 words - 6 pages Labor Laws and Organized LaborLet's start way back at the beginning. The history of the Organized labor dates back to early America.The first factory workers were predominately immigrants, slaves and children and they were easily exploited by many factory owners. Slaves had no constitutional rights and were treated at the will of their owners.Immigrants lacking the funds for passage to the United States, often signed indentured servant contracts

Racial Discrimination The U.S. Labor Market

2828 words - 11 pages backing of their state laws, especially in New York. Although the United States and their fifty states have passed legislation outlawing racial discrimination in the labor market, it still exists today. Enter the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to combat the racial discrimination problems of today. The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting job discrimination. The EEOC investigates discrimination claims and advocates

Laboring The Lambs / Evolution Of Child Labor

1684 words - 7 pages the government and its FLSA became active, America and its non-profit organizations fight the use of child labor throughout the world by utilizing trade agreements and its association to child labor. As time only knows, these organizations may eventually influence the education of the world, and discontinue the laboring of the lambs.ReferencesClark-Bennett, R., Hodne, C., & Sherer , J. (2000). Child labor in U.S. history. Retrieved February 28