Growth And Success Of The American Labor Movement During The 1930's

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During the 1930s, there was a great deal of labor and union activism. American unions and organizations nearly tripled their membership from the early 1930s to the end of the decade. A union is defined as an organization of wage earners or salaried employees for mutual aid and protection and for dealing collectively with employers (Dictionary.com). Unions began to form because workers were fed up with unfair working conditions such as, unfair wages and extremely long work hours. Forming unions was the workers’ way to stand up and defend themselves against business owners. In the late 1930s, nearly 5 million workers took part in industrial action and nearly three million Americans became union members (Rosenzweig, 465). There were many reasons as to why there was such growth and success of the American labor movement during the years of the Great Depression. There were successful strikes, union collaborations, and union negotiations with business owners as well the support of the United States Government. This decade of workers achieved more of their goals than they did during the 1920s due to people of power having a change of perspective.

The first three years of the Great Depression was a nightmare for
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Programs became to develop which supported the causes of these unions and organizations. Harry Hopkins Works Progress Association (WPA) was one of the most important programs during the Great Depression. This association organized unions and demanded higher wages for their workers just like the other movements that have occurred. Roosevelt even supported the WPA wages to set a level right below private sector jobs, which was still better than the workers previous wages. Since there was strong support for this program, approximately eight million people became employed by the early 1940s because of this agency (Rosenzweig,

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