The rise and fall of Labor Unions

1545 Words Dec 26th, 2014 7 Pages
Kevin Campusano
Class
Prof.
30 November 2014
The rise and fall of labor unions
Labor union is an organized association of workers, in a trade or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests. During the industrial revolution in Europe there was a rise in new workers without representation in the workplace. In the 19th century the industrial revolution spread to the United States from Europe, this resulted in the economy shifting to manufacturing from agriculture as an economic importance. American societies were increasing in population as well as experiencing industrial growth. This industrialization brought conflict between businesses and the labor force since mechanized production was replacing household
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The American Federation of Labor was successfully able to negotiate wage increases for its members and enhance workplace safety for all workers. American Federation of Labor was more successful than the Knights of Labor because they used new organizational methods to manage the combined attack of employers and government authorities. American Federation of Labor would also secure the loyalty of its 1.4 million members by providing sickness, unemployment, and strike benefits, and burial insurance. American Federation of Labor emphasized higher wages, shorter working hours, and better working conditions. Employers continued to resist the union’s negotiations by employing immigrants that they could give lower wages to and attempting to speed up labor processes with new forms of organization. The unions within the American Federation of Labor knew that if they had more control of the labor market they would have the power. So the unions decided that limiting the number of available workers would keep their wages high. In 1892, the supervisor of the Carnegie Steel’s huge homestead complex, locked out his employees and said he would operate the plant with nonunion workers. In retaliation the workers surrounded the plant, the supervisor called in 300 armed Pinkerton guards which cause a 24 hour battle outside the plant. The supervisor requested the state

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