The History of Labor Unions Essay

Decent Essays

During the Progressive Era of the Gilded Age, many laborers were being mistreated by the companies that they worked for. Because of this, workers started forming labor unions or organized association of workers, formed to protect and further their rights and interests. Many of these labor unions failed, while few of them achieved their goals and still exist today. Many factors contributed to the failure of these labor unions. The labor unions were given a bad image, the reason for this was the media, and they did this by publishing articles depicting the unions as violent, communist groups. The government supported big business during this time, since the government had a lot of power; this was a huge setback in the labor unions’ battles. …show more content…

The words chosen by the writer suggests that they do not agree with the actions of the labor unions. Other times, the newspapers would associate them with violence. During the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, Charles M. Dollar Along with seeing labor movements as radical, many labor movements were labeled socialist by the media. In the cartoon in Document C, the labor movement is shown to be influenced by socialist controls. Considering the generally negative connotation that came with communism in the United States, when newspapers like Harper’s Weekly labeled organized labor as socialist, many people developed a negative attitude towards organized labor. The disapproval of organized labor was not exclusive to the American public but also the federal government. During the late 20th century, the Supreme Court became increasingly conservative on the issue of organized labor. In the Supreme Court case In re Debs, the court ruled that federal government controlled interstate commerce and was obligated to keep the railroads from obstructions and in that specific case, strikes or protests. The fact that a good portion of the American public and the federal government saw organized labor as a detriment; it was no surprise that organized labor

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