Labor Union History

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Labor unions are associations of workers that strive to improve the economic and working conditions of workers. They use contract negotiations called collective bargaining to negotiate over wages and working conditions. Workers in several industries in the United States are represented by labor unions.


Labor unions became prominent in the aftermath of the Civil War. The National Labor Union was the first US union. Another famous labor union was the American Federation of Labor which was established in the late nineteenth century. It acted as a federation for skilled workers unions. In 1905 the Industrial Workers of the World was formed to represent unskilled workers. There are two umbrella organizations for unions. One of them is AFL-CIO and the Change to Win Federation. They have advocated policies that are beneficial for workers. They also have played an important role in increasing the working conditions of workers. This paper traces the history of American labor unions from World War II till the present era (Vittoz, 45).
The Congress of Industrial Organizations was established by an autocratic person John Lewis. The CIO organized millions of workers in the 1930s. Lewis was a charismatic speaker and strategist whose speeches forced the closure of the coal industry to ensure that his demands were met.
Lewis supported President Roosevelt at the onset of the New Deal. Roosevelt had tremendous appeal with workers. Lewis sent organizers to mobilize thousands of workers to support President Roosevelt. He was one of the main financial supporters of Roosevelt. It is estimated that he contributed over five hundred thousand dollars to Roosevelt's election campaign (Zieger, 65).
Lewis organized trade unions in the ...
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