The History of Organized Labor.

Essay by mpaoneUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2006

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America, still in its infancy in the late 18th century began to grow as a nation. The industrial revolution was dawning in the United States. American labor now faced a long, uphill battle to get fair treatment in the workplace. During that battle more and more American workers would turn to organized labor unions to help their cause. The labor unions and there members faced violence, cruelty and many bitter defeats, but they would eventually win the fight and achieve a standard of living unknown to American workers at any other time in history. As the industrial revolution forged ahead the factory system grew many American workers began to form organized labor unions to protect their interests. In 1792 the shoemakers union was the first union to collect dues and hold regular meeting. Shortly after the shoemakers, carpenters and leather workers in Boston and printers in New York organized labor unions.

The tactics of the labor union during this time were simple. The union members would agree on a wage they thought was fair. If the employer failed to meet their demands they pledged to stop working for them. The early days of the union met some resistance from the court system. Employers used the courts as an effective weapon in the fight against the unions. In 1806, eight shoemakers from Philadelphia were brought to trial after an unsuccessful strike. The court ruled in favor of the employer saying that any organizing of workers to raise wages was illegal and that unions were conspiracies against employers and the community.

Later cases heard by the courts proved fatal to the union as they ruled that any action taken by a union to raise wages might be criminal. The effectiveness of the early-organized labor movement had been destroyed. The door had opened...