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The new england workingmen's association - Essay Example

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Prior to the convention, mechanics of Fall River had been experiencing poor working conditions that included 10-hour workdays. As…
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The New England Workingmens Association Established in 1844, the New England Workingmen’s Association (NEWA) resulted from a convention held in October 1844 (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). Prior to the convention, mechanics of Fall River had been experiencing poor working conditions that included 10-hour workdays. As such, the mechanics of Fall River petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for a 10-hour workday in 1842 with immense hope that the legislature will address their plight (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). Unfortunately, the Massachusetts legislature ignored their concerns leading to eminent hardships in the Fall River workforce (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). However, the mechanics kept their dream of better working conditions alive and hence they called for a region-wide convention to address the question of a 10-hour workday in Fall River. Indeed, the region-wide convention held on October 1844 addressed this issue in great length and resolved to form the New England Workingmen’s Association (NEWA) to address the workers’ plight (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). As such, most of the meetings held by New England Workingmen’s Association focused on the dominant concern of a 10-hour workday (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1).
In the meetings that followed the formation of the New England Workingmen’s Association, members ended such meetings with a resolution calling for an abridgement of the hours of labor, which was evidently fundamental in rendering every citizen of the commonwealth worthy and capable to perform the sacred duties of a freeman (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). As such, the New England Workingmen’s Association followed the footsteps of other labor leaders of the 1840s, who focused on the relationship between connection between 10-hour workday and citizenship. However, the New England Workingmen’s Association was seemingly different from other labor associations in that it included middle-class reformers who stressed issues such as land reform, and women, who frequently found themselves excluded from other groups unlike other labor associations that disregarded middle-class reformers (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1).
In the 1840s, many labor organizations disregarded the membership and contribution of women. Nevertheless, the New England Workingmen’s Association offered a reprieve to the women by extending all the rights, privileges, and obligations of membership to women’s labor groups through its constitution (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). As such, the association addressed both men and women issues that relate to their working conditions. Notably, women working in Lowell’s mills made significant contribution to the association, which depicted the incorporation of women’s labor groups into the New England Workingmen’s Association. The women’s labor groups had common goals with the NEWA as seen in the case of Lowell Mill workers who petitioned the legislature for a 10-hour workday just like the Fall River mechanics (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). Indeed, under the Lowell Female Reform Association (LFLRA), women workers were fundamental in addressing the issue of the 10-hour workday.
Notably, the LFLRA’s petition forced the Massachusetts legislature to make an initial inquiry into the question of worker health and safety (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). However, the Massachusetts legislature denied the petition again prompting LFLRA to form an alliance with the New England Workingmens Association in December of 1844, which later published The Voice of Industry that addressed worker health and safety issues (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). Because of the alliance, many women gained their liberation from narrow family and work roles, which enabled them to join the world of politics and public participation (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1). LFLRA became a member of NEWA where Sarah Bagley, the president of the LFLRA became the corresponding secretary of the New England Working Men’s Association In 1845 (Massachusetts AFL-CIO 1).
Works Cited
Massachusetts AFL-CIO. 1844 New England Workingmens Association, Lowell Female Labor Reform Association Founded.Web.7 June 2014. < http://www.massaflcio.org/1844-new-england-workingmen%2526%2523039%3Bs-association,-lowell-female-labor-reform-association-founded>Read More
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