The Development of Labor Unions Essay

Decent Essays
During the Victorian age, and up until about the 20s, labor unions were new developments. They had existed before, but on a much smaller scale. The labor unions that did exist were all vastly different. Some were conservative, while others were extremely radical. The Industrial Workers of the World are an example of a more radical group, while the American Federation of Labor is more conservative. The two unions had contrasting opinions to the point of conflict between the groups. As well as having differing opinions, the groups had differing motives and ways of achieving their goals. The Industrial Workers of the World and the American Federation of Labor are two labor unions that existed at the same time, but could not be any more…show more content…
The American Federation of Labor was quite different from the IWW. The AFL was exclusive, letting only skilled workers join the union, but did not discriminate based on race or gender. Although the union was nondiscriminatory, they would turn the other way when blacks were excluded from the group. Similarly, women were treated the same way. Many times they were not the main focus of the group, and were only supported half-heartedly. The motives of the group were to have higher wages, and a shorter workday. The American Federation of Labor supported their causes for workers rights by boycotting businesses, and having businesses that were for union workers only. The AFL believed that capitalism was the way towards bettering the workplace. Supporting capitalism was one of the major reasons the IWW had conflicts with the group.
The AFL’s conservative beliefs, and exclusive union created conflict between themselves and the IWW, who were radical and open to all members. The two groups had beliefs that were completely opposite, and the groups were unable to cooperate. Due to the conflict between them, the founder of the AFL made it so that no one in the IWW could work at American Federation of Labor industries. Because the IWW were banned from AFL industries, the group began to target the people who were not helped by the AFL. The group went to the neglected, and sought after them to give them hope. The Industrial
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