Unions In The 1920's

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Unions have been around for a long time. The first union was established in 1866 in the U.S. with the foundation of the National Labor Union or the NLU. The National Labor Union was created to persuade Congress to change laws. The NLU was against holding strikes and instead relied on political action to reach its goals. The NLU, made up of farmers, workers, and reformers, excluding African Americans and women, firstly wanted Congress to limit the work days to just eight hours, and it was able to make this change, but after this none of its other suggestions made it through. Eventually, the NLU was dissolved in 1873, but with its existence, it boosted public awareness to make changes for labor laws. Next came the Knights of Labor, created in…show more content…
The AFL was established in in 1886 led by Samuel Gompers. Many members of this group were former members of Kings of Labor. At first the AFL only allowed skilled workers to join the group. The organization’s membership rose greatly during World War I, since the government gave multiple concessions to workers and unions. Since the United States was engaged in the war, the government wanted to avoid strikes, so by stepping in on behalf of workers with their employers, the government believed they could do so. In 1920, the AFL had gained more than 4 million workers. But, during the 1920s-1930s, some members wanted to have a nonexclusive group. They wanted it to include unskilled or untrained workers also. This issue became so big that in 1935, John L. Lewis, an AFL member, created the Committee for Industrial Organization. It was originally a part of the AFL, but in 1937, it broke off and became the Congress of Industrial Organizations or CIO. The CIO organized almost 4 million workers into 32 national and international unions in just the first two years that it was in service. They also signed contracts with 30,000 companies, “resulting in wage increases in excess of $1 billion, shorter work hours for millions of workers and improved working conditions.”(UMWA) The AFL and the CIO stayed as two separate organizations until 1955, when the two groups combined to make the AFL-CIO. Today the AFL-CIO is the federation for U.S. unions that represent 12.5 million working women and men. They ensure that all people who work receive the correct rewards for their labor. They fight for all workers to have respect and fair treatment from the companies they work for. Unions are needed to help workers and laborers get the respect they
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