Labor Unions Essay

4635 words - 19 pages

Labor Unions

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 labor unions. “A labor union is an organized group of workers whose purpose is to increase wages and influence other job conditions for its members” (Parkin, 1998,p.344). These labor unions can be divided into two types: craft unions and industrial unions (World, 1998). A craft union is “a union whose membership is restricted to workers who possess an identifiable skill” (Robinson, 1985,p. 69). These members tend to be better educated and trained, and more unified because of common interests (World, 1998). An example 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 labor under contract” (Encyclopedia, 1996, p. 630). In 1890, the Knights of Labor membership had declined to only 100,000 members and the number of members continued to decline and eventually disappeared. The decline is said to have been a result of “inadequate national leadership, opposition from existing craft unions, and the loss of major strikes in meat packing and railroads in 1886 and 1887” (Robinson, 1985, p. 57). In December 1886, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was formed in Columbus, Ohio. The AFL was originally named the Federated Organization of Trades and Labor Union back in 1881. The AFL was a “national union made up of affiliated, individual craft unions” (Boone, 1996, p. 288). The first president of the AFL was Samuel Gompers. On...

Find Another Essay On Labor Unions

LAbor unions Essay

776 words - 4 pages Labor Unions were started because of the poor treatment of workers, unsafe, unfair, and unsanitary working conditions that took place in the 19th century. At first it was difficult for these immigrants and unskilled workers to organize a labor union at all, and eventually led achieving some important things such as ending child labor, equal pay for men and women, stopping human body parts from being ground into you hamburger meat, and an 8 hour

Labor Unions Essay

1697 words - 7 pages Labor Unions Labor unions are groups or clubs of workers and employees who bond together to get good working conditions, fair pay, and fair hours for their labor. For example, in a newspaper, all the people who work the presses might all belong to one union. All of the artists, who are responsible for the artistic layout, might belong to another. These unions are usually joined together, and most unions in America are some branch of the

Labor Unions Are Useless

2446 words - 10 pages I have been involved with labor unions on three occasions throughout my lifetime. The first occasion occurred, when I was a high school teenager and began working as a box-boy at a grocery store. A condition of employment was that I was required to join the stores labor union, which was a state law in California. According to Bernard D. Meltzer, a leading scholar of Labor Law at University of Chicago Law School, “Union security provisions in

Economics of Labor Unions

1042 words - 4 pages A common definition of a labor union is that it is an association of workers who bargain collectively with their employer regarding the terms and conditions of employment. Analysis of Labor Unions on the economy can fall roughly into four relatively large categories, 1) Unions as Maximizing Agents 2) Dispute Resolution: Strikes and Arbitration 3) The Effect of Unions on Wages 4) The Determination of Union Membership.The general approach to

American Early Labor Unions

1324 words - 5 pages industrialism grew was because of the American and immigrant work force. Workers during the gilded age into the progressive age were not being treated well from theire employees. During this time many workers worked for low wages, many hours and unsafe working conditions. Many workers were angry at their employers, so they began to form labor unions and organizations where workers fought to win certain rights from their employers. As workers moved from

Labor Unions’ Involvement in Politics

1989 words - 8 pages External advocacy and political involvement is deeply engrained in the culture of labor unions. Bill Fletcher Jr. writes myth 8: “the union uses our money for political action and I have no say in the matter,” in his novel “They’re Bankrupting Us” And 20 Other Myths about Unions. In this myth, Bill Fletcher Jr. addresses unions and how they take political action. Labor unions often take political action in a controversial way, while not always

Labor Unions: Harmful to the economy

1589 words - 6 pages The Labor Unions of 2003 look nothing like the original Labor Unions of 1886 created by Samuel Gompers. Once used to protect people's rights now is too powerful and is trampling those same rights that were once protected. Labor Unions, which did shorten the workweek and workday and improve working conditions through collective bargaining, shifted their strategy to politics. Thomas Jefferson once said that "to compel a man, to furnish

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

Creation of Labor Unions in Bangladesh

1045 words - 5 pages and gender discrimination is a constant up rise. Unionists in Bangladesh are facing much scrutiny even till this day. There have been reports of torture, arrests and even deaths that went into the valiant effort to gain the basic working privileges they so rightfully deserve. Creation of labor unions in the Bangladeshi textile industries are necessary to bring about better working conditions and protection of equal employment opportunities for

The Past, Present and Future of Labor Unions

2270 words - 9 pages ABSTRACT: Labor Unions have become an important factor in our industries. For many years, labor unions have served as the main voice of the workers to their employers. The continuous effort of labor unions in helping the laborers ensure their rights in their jobs, acquire all the benefits they need and to eliminate the injustice experienced by workers in their workplace is still an ongoing process. In order to understand labor unions in

Labor Unions and Effects on the Lives of Factory Workers

783 words - 3 pages Organized labor, during the period from 1875-1900, had drastic effects on the lives of factory workers. Labor unions not only sought to improve working conditions; they wanted to have a large impact on society as a whole as well. These unions also altered feelings toward organized labor. The Industrial Revolution that took place after the Civil War made for a more economically sound country. American workers, however, were becoming more and

Similar Essays

Labor Unions Essay

539 words - 2 pages Labor Unions have had an effect of American history as well as world-wide history from the time they became popular. Following WWII Americans were predominantly pro-labor, however, as time went on union’s credibility fell short of perfect. Union strikes proved to be bothersome to both the general public and company. Unions were also suppressing to employees through fraud and lack of worker rights (in earlier years, before Acts were passed

Labor Unions Essay

3057 words - 12 pages Labor Unions and the Dynamics of Race in Unions      Labor unions have been in America for a very long time. There are many unions in a myriad of different fields. Labor unions were and are used to allow for equal treatment of workers. Employers always want to maximize their profits and they try to give the least to get the most in return. For reasons such as this is why unions were formed. Generally a

Labor Unions Essay

949 words - 4 pages The Labor Movement generated opposition from both the government and the public since they both saw unions as violent and lawless. The government used force to control the unions showing their disgust for the views and actions of these organizations. Well, organized and growing businesses took the advantage in the struggle with labor, so the workers started labor unions. It is easily argued both ways whether or not unions formed were beneficial

Labor Unions Essay

1693 words - 7 pages branchof the largest labor union organization in the United States, the AFL-CIO.The unions of the workers at a certain business or factory might gettogether with the management for a period of time to talk about acontract. This time is known as negotiation. The union will tell themanagement what it wants its workers getting paid, and then themanagement will tell the union what it can pay the workers and still beearning a reasonable profit. They