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Labor Unions - College Papers

Labor Unions


GROWTH OF THE FACTORY
In colonial America, most of the manufacturing was done by hand in a home. Labor
took place in workshops attached to the side of a home. As towns grew into
cities, the demand for manufactured goods increased. Some workshop owners began
hiring helpers to increase production. Relations between the employer and helper
were generally harmonious. They worked side by side, had the same interests and
held similar political views.

The factory system that began around the mid 1800's brought great changes. The
employers no longer worked beside their employees. They became executives and
merchants who rarely saw their workers. They were less concerned with their
welfare than ...

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The first union to hold regular meetings and collect dues was
organized by Philadelphia shoemakers in 1792. Soon after, carpenters and
leather workers in Boston and printers in New York also organized unions.
Labor's tactics in those early times were simple. Members of a union would
agree on the wages they thought were fair. They pledged to stop working for
employers who would not pay that amount. They also sought to compel employers
to hire only union members.

CONSPIRACY LAWS

Employers found the courts to be an effective weapon to protect their interests.
In 1806, eight Philadelphia shoemakers were brought to trial after leading an
unsuccessful strike. The court ruled that any organizing of workers to raise
wages was an illegal act. Unions were "conspiracies" against employers and the
community. In later cases, courts ruled that almost any action taken by unions
to increase wages might be criminal. These decisions destroyed the
effectiveness of the nation's early labor ...

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started in Lynn,
Massachusetts, when factory workers were refused a three-dollar increase in
their weekly pay. It soon spread to Maine and New Hampshire. Altogether, about
20,000 workers took part in the strike. It ended in a victory for the
shoemakers. Similar victories were soon won by other trade unions. These
successes led to big increases in union membership. Yet most American workers
were generally better off than workers in Europe and had more hope of improving
their lives. For this reason, the majority did not join labor unions.

In the years following the Civil War (1861-1865), the United States was
transformed by the enormous growth of industry. Once the United States ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 4/12/2006 09:11:56 AM
Category: Economics
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 4440
Pages: 17

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