The issue of leadership in the history of the labor union

The incident ended peacefully when the Poles were granted full voting rights. This was the first recorded strike of workers in the building trades. It disbanded in less than a year.

The issue of leadership in the history of the labor union

American Unionism and U.

Slave Labor

Immigration Policy American Unionism and U. Immigration Policy Download this Backgrounder as a pdf Throughout its lengthy history, few issues have caused the American labor movement more agony than immigration. It is ironic this should be the case as most adult immigrants directly enter the labor force.

So eventually do most of their family members. But precisely because immigration affects the scale, geographical distribution, and skill composition of the labor force, it affects national, regional, and local labor market conditions. Hence, organized labor can never ignore immigration trends.

Immigration has in the past and continues to affect the developmental course of American trade unionism. If organized labor seeks restrictions on immigration levels as well as the active enforcement of prevailing laws, it risks alienating itself from immigrants and makes it difficult to organize them.

On the other hand, if they welcome immigrants, endorse liberal admission policies, and favor lax enforcement against violators, the result is that the segments of the labor supply are inflated and the ensuing market pressures make it more difficult for unions to win economic gains for their membership.

The reason most workers join unions in the United States is, after all, largely because they believe unions can improve and protect their economic well-being. Hence, immigration has always been a "no-win" situation for American unions. At every juncture, and with no exception prior to the s, the union movement either directly instigated or strongly supported every legislative initiative enacted by Congress to restrict immigration and to enforce its policy provisions.

When immigration increased, union membership tended to flounder; when immigration declined, union membership flourished. But in the late s, the leadership of organized labor began to waffle on the issue.

By the s, the labor movement was hesitant to support comprehensive reform despite the fact that the nation was in the midst of the largest wave of immigration it had ever experienced and the percentage of the labor force belonging to unions was declining rapidly.

In the months that followed, AFL-CIO officials declared that the organization was now "championing immigrant rights as a strategic move to make immigrants more enthusiastic about joining unions.

Should this happen, the implications for the future of organized labor and for American workers are far-reaching. If this change occurs, working people — especially those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder — will have lost the support of the most effective champion they ever had.

A Review of the Pres Era Efforts of working people in the United States to band together to form organizations representing their collective economic interests date back to the earliest days of the Republic.

But it was not until the s that several national craft unions were able to establish organizations that were strong enough to survive both business cycle fluctuations and the fierce opposition of employers and anti-labor court rulings.

Immigration had been an extremely controversial subject among the populace prior to this time, but government had yet to formulate any specific policies to regulate the phenomenon.

Early unions, nevertheless, had to confront the issue. Immigrants were often used to break strikes and to forestall union organizing efforts. Collectively, as the number of immigrants soared in the s and s, it became increasingly difficult for local unions to secure wage increases and improvement in working conditions.

But with the coming of the Civil War inthere was an enormous increase in the demand for the production of war materials while men of working age were being conscripted to join the military forces of the North.

In response, the Act to Encourage Immigration was passed in It is also known as the Contract Labor Law due to its provisions requiring those whose transportation costs were paid to repay the employers for whom the immigrants were obligated to work.

The workers received no wages during this period of what was essentially a period of indentured servitude. To cover their food and housing costs, the contract workers usually had to extend their period of work obligation. Free labor, obviously, could not compete with workers hired under such obligatory terms.

Contract workers were often used as strikebreakers when disputes between employers and unionized workers did occur. Under these conditions, contract labor quickly aroused the ire of existing unions. It was a national federation of local assemblies of craft workers as well as some of the national craft unions that existed at that time.

The NLU viewed the Contract Labor Act as an artificial method to stimulate immigration by the government whose intention it was to create a labor surplus that depressed wages and caused unemployment.

They made the repeal of the legislation an immediate legislative objective. They were successful in their efforts as the Act was repealed in But the repeal only ended government support for such efforts; it did not ban the practice, so contract labor continued to thrive as a private sector recruiting device used by many employers.

The NLU then turned its attention to the issue of large-scale immigration of unskilled Chinese workers on the West Coast, which began shortly before the Civil War.Women represented by a union in the United States earn an average of $ more per week than women in nonunion jobs.

In fact, unionized women earn more than nonunionized women in [ ] Institute for Women's Policy Research. Article: An Eclectic List of Events in U.S. Labor History.

The issue of leadership in the history of the labor union

Compiled by allen lutins () Last Update 26 February Click here for information about reproducing any portion of this article..

Most citizens of the United States take for granted labor laws which protect them from the evils of unregulated industry. Labor Systems of Early America Native American Labor. A short guide to the tribes of North America (site also has a bibliography); Richard Hakluyt Discourse of Western Planting ().

The labor history of the United States describes the history of organized labor, US labor law, and more general history of working people, in the United metin2sell.coming in the s, unions became important components of the Democratic metin2sell.comr, some historians have not understood why no Labor Party emerged in the United States, in contrast to Western Europe.

Chapter 6 Unions and Rights in the Space Age By Jack Barbash. World War II forced the integration of the newer unions into the war effort and forced business into working out accommodations with the unions for the duration.

At its first convention in , thirty-five thousand women gathered together not “to swap recipes,” as Myra Wolfgang of HERE taunted George Meany and the rest of labor’s male leadership, but to organize the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW).

Black History Issue - WallBuilders