Pros And Cons Of Labor Unions

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Labor unions are an alternative employment method and have been controversial since the beginning. A labor union is a group of workers that form together creating a union and make sure that fair working conditions are set and that employment regulations are met and not broken. Unions are a way for the working class to be heard by big business. Union supporters argue that individual workers are powerless against large businesses and corporations. In order to achieve fair wages and benefits, workers must bargain collectively. Corporations are generally opposed to unions in the workplace. Many believe that union have slower productivity and protect incompetent workers. Labor unions are better than non-union work forces because they provide optimal …show more content…
With the start of the Industrial Revolution, large numbers of workers began moving from the country to urban areas in order to take wage jobs at these factories. European immigrants also moved to cities seeking factory jobs. These workers faced harsh, unhealthy conditions. They worked long days, often sixteen hours, and worked alongside children. It was this era that unions began to form in large numbers. The Mechanics Union of Philadelphia was the first union to represent workers of different trades, which formed in 1827. Workers in other cities began forming collective unions. Most of these unions were comprised of white, skilled craftsmen, but unskilled men and women also formed unions during this time Union membership increased during the civil war. By 1870, approximately 300,000 workers were members of unions. However, economic recession, racism, and legal actions by employers reduced the number of union members down to 50,000 by 1877. .Employers fought the unions by accusing union leaders with conspiracy, often resulting in prison sentences. Employers often broke union strikes by using immigrants and African American workers as scabs. Scabs were employees who would …show more content…
During the 1880s, large-scale unions led by the Knights of Labor fought for a new wage system that granted workers greater freedom to choose who they worked for, their own hours and working conditions. From the 1880s to the 1920s, the American Federation of Labor, or AFL, and the International Workers of the World, or IWW, led series of organizational campaigns and strikes against big businesses. These strikes often resulted in violence from police and private security companies such as the Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1913, the United States government stepped in to protect the rights of workers by establishing the U.S. Department of Labor. After World War I, a spurge of strikes broke out throughout America. Between 1919 and 1922, more than 10,000 strikes were held; however, most of them failed. Fear of communism led many people to turn away from unions. Union support subsided until the Great Depression. In 1933, the new elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted a series of economic reforms

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