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Labor Unions Aging Dinosaur or Sleeping Giant The Labor Movement and Unionism Background and Brief History Higher wages Shorter workdays Better working conditions These famous words echoed throughout the United States beginning in 1790 with the skilled craftsmen Dessler 1997 p 544 For the last two-hundred years workers of all trades have been fighting for their rights and seeking methods of improving their living standards working conditions and job security Boone 1996p287 As time went by these individuals came to the conclusion that if they work together collectively they would grow stronger to get responses to their demands This inspired into what we know today as labor unions A labor union is an organized group of workers whose purpose is to increase wages and influence other job conditions for its members Parkin 1998p344 These labor unions can be divided into two types craft unions and industrial unions World 1998 A craft union is a union whose membership is restricted to workers who possess an identifiable skill Robinson 1985p 69 These members tend to be better educated and trained and more unified because of common interests World 1998 An example of a craft union is the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union World 1998 On the other hand an industrialized union is a group of workers who have a variety of skills and job types but work for the same industry Parkin 1998 p 344 Unions of this type include the United Steelworkers United Auto Workers and the United Transportation Union Boone 1996 History from the 1870s to 1900s The first national union founded in Philadelphia in 1869 in the pre-Civil War period was the Knights of Labor which intended to include all workers Encyclopedia 1996 p 630 For a decade this organization grew at a slow pace due to operating in secrecy until the failure of railroad strikes that increased membership to over 700000 in
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