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Word Count: 282
A trade union is a continuos association of wage-earners for the purposeof maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment1 Thismeans that it is a group of workers who unite to gain more power andleverage in bargaining This bargaining can include many things from wagesto working conditions promotions or fringe benefits Unions usually elect aleader to speak to management on their behalf The idea of unions cameabout in the late 1700s These early unions were called friendly societies orsocial societies They were very different than the unions we have today They focused on friendship and trust between the workers and themanagement The groups of workers and managers alike often met to drinktalk or play card games One of the first recorded forms of a union was agroup called the Friendly Society of Cotton Spinners who in 1785 instructedits members not to work below the usual prices2 As the gap between thesocial classes of the workers and the management widened their friendlyrelationship also deteriorated rapidly Now unions in the form we see themtoday began to develop Management no longer associated with its workers The unions changed very quickly to fit the needs of workers during the Todays trade unions fight for most of the same causes that they have beenfighting for since the beginning Although some unions have been criticizedmost are reasonable Trade unions have been and will continue to be a keypart of our American capitalist systemSmelserNeil Social Change in the Industrial Revolution London Routledge SmithPage The Rise of Industrial America New York McGraw-Hill Book1Smelser Social Change in the Industrial Revolution p 313
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