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Major project - Research Paper Example

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Major Project US Labor Unions (College/University) US Labor Unions Introduction Labor unions in America are known as the representatives of workers in many industries. Some prominent sectors where unions are strong are teaching and policing…
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Download file to see previous pages Both these organizations advocate rules and policies favoring workers in the US, and play an active political role, mostly favoring the Democratic Party. The recent Economic Crisis of 2008 that shook the economic basis of the US found the Labor Unions a burden. According to some people, the three major automakers of US found it difficult to cope with the changing situations and to compete with their global opponents as a result of the costly labor agreements including pension and health plan. As a result of this poor economic condition, states, especially the ones led by Republican Party like Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Illinois have introduced bills that would result in salary cuts, and some are planning to restrict the collective bargaining rights the workers enjoyed in the US for about a century. Thus, it becomes evident that the labor unions, despite decades of struggle and violence, seemed to have gained little as the new developments take away most of the freedom they gained over a century. Though polls reveal that most people are against this governmental step, the Democratic Party seems strong in its decision. ...
However, it faced eventual collapse due to poor organization. Though there were labor protests even before 1800s, they were poorly coordinated and localized. The first recorded labor union strike took place in 1786 in Philadelphia. It was conducted by printers opposing a wage cut. However, the first major strike that brought the idea of the never ending conflict between workers and business owners was the railway strike in 1877. It was against the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and it spread to the whole of northeast. To curb the violence, troops were called out and using considerable amount of force, the strike was crushed. Throughout their history, the labor unions used ideologies ranging from intimidation, threats, vandalism, and violence, and their history was never peaceful. Another important incident (cited in Foner, 27-37) that deserves to be mentioned is the Haymarket Riot that eventually led to the development of AFL. On 4 May 1886, a labor rally was conducted at the Haymarket Square in Chicago in support of the eight-hour workday. However, the rally turned violent leading to bloody clashes between the agitators and police. The courts had a rough time dealing with the legal status of labor unions. The question was and still is whether these cartels of laborers lawful or not? Do they amount to criminal conspiracies against trade? Are the strikes an expression of the individual right to bargain for lawful employment? One can find a lot of disparity in the issue from the very beginning. To illustrate, as Tomlins (p.128) reports, in the 1806 Commonwealth v. Pullis, the jury convicted the accused unionists of criminal conspiracy. However, as Bennett, Heard and Holland (235) write, in Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842), the Massachusetts ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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