Union Drama And Development Of The United States

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Union Drama and Development One does not have to work hard to find a newspaper article, television story, or politician talking about labor unions in the United States. This country has a strong heritage of labor, with roots going back to the Second Industrial Revolution. Despite the historical significance of organized labor in the United States, however, the contemporary viability of this movement is the subject of an ongoing debate, as union membership among American workers declined seriously in the past half-a-century. The Washington Post (Swanson, 2015) reports that while fifty years ago, around thirty percent of workers joined unions, that number fell to around ten percent in 2015. Before jumping to conclusions about how or why…show more content…
At the time, the preeminent labor organization, the Knights of Labor (KOL) stood at odds with the fledgling AFL. Throughout the eight-hour workday movement, the leader of the KOL, Terence Powderly, spoke out against strikes and worked to keep his organization away from the issue. Powderly bore a great deal of criticism following the Haymarket Riot and his inaction surrounding the incident pushed workers to consider the new organization, the AFL, as a champion of workers rights and an entity ready to take more aggressive action towards change. In this way, the Haymarket Riot helped the AFL by highlighting the out-of-step ideology held by their rivals, the Knights of Labor. Homestead Strike While the Haymarket Riot may have benefited the AFL in the short-run, the Homestead Strike resulted in mixed results for the labor conglomerate and is remembered as one of the bloodiest incidents in the history of organized labor (Holley et al., 2012).. In the summer of 1892, an affiliate of the AFL, the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin (AA), experienced a standoff with their employer, the Carnegie Steel Works in Homestead, Pennsylvania, over proposed wage cuts. Management’s attempt to seize control of their
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