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History of Unions in America - Term Paper Example

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This paper "History of Unions in America" focuses on the fact that trade unions constitute formal channels employees in different societies find the opportunity to engage their employers on various issues that affect their work and related work conditions. …
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History of Unions in America
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Download file to see previous pages In America, unions possess along with the history that in one way or the other can be compared to America’s independence history. Since the formation of first organized union in the early years of 1830, America’s unions have had a rough journey, characterized by; struggle, setbacks, falls, and sometimes resistances. For about one and a half century, unions in the USA have played a great role in defining America’s work environment and how people live, although this role has to be viewed both within lenses of success and failure (Shmoop Editorial Team Para. 2).
History of Unions in America
Unions in the 1700s and early 1800s The history of America’s labour unions is extensive and complex intertwined within the early history of America (American Federation of Government Employees-AFGE Para. 1). The history is first linked to the arrival of Europeans on American soil in the early 15th century where the passion for the visitors was to search for economic opportunities. On arrival on the American land, Europeans found bountiful economic opportunities that were unavailable in their home countries and in order to perfectly exploit these opportunities, requests were made to home countries to supply them with craftsmen. Responding to the call of settlers, home countries sent many craftsmen and working people to America and as settlement became more permanent, these craftsmen and working people started to form primitive unions, popularly known as guilds, where majority members were carpenters and cordwainers, cabinet makers and cobblers (American Federation of Government Employees-AFGE Para. 1).
The essence of these early primitive guilds centred on restricting competition among tradesmen and establishing and ensuring work standards among craftsmen guided the activities (Chaison p.1). Early unions were victims of multiple employers’ and legal control, restrain and manipulation. One characteristic of these early organizations of unions was that they did not live long since their goals were largely short-lived like reactions to employers’ attempts to cut wages or reduce job skills. Further, early employers did not give early unions chance to stabilize and grow as they perceived the unions to be illegal conspiracies whose main agenda was just to raise wages far beyond the rates individual workers could accept (Chaison p.2). The notion of the illegality of unions became prevalent during this moment especially with the ruling of Cordwainers Conspiracy cases, a situation that saw many unions become moribund and weak. What the ruling meant for many American organizations was that no formal organization in terms of workers could be recognized in the legal spheres and therefore all activities of agitating for workers interests became illegal.
Nevertheless, even with this ruling, the industry growth in many parts of America continued to be witnessed and this led to the emergence of numerous challenges and problems for workers. The Period from 1830-1870s The period saw America experience great transformation in terms of numerous reforms in both governance and industry organization. Working conditions in the majority of industries were poor and wages were way below employee size of work. Legal battles began between employers and some informal unions, which despite the Conspiracy ruling had constantly struggled to voice the worker's needs and problems.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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