History of Labor

December 19, 2012 By: Mariah H

What will be covered?

  • Conditions of pre-unions
  • Why unions formed
  • Examples of unions
  • Conditions of post formation of unions
  • History of Unions in Wisconsin
  • Current state of unions

Conditions of pre-unions

  • long work hours
  • unsafe working conditions
  • child labor
  • little pay
  • dangerous machinery
  • hot temperatures in the factories in summer
  • cold temperatures inb the factories in the winter

Why unions formed

Many unions formed because of the unfair conditions in the work area. They were being treated bad and unfair by working for many hours in a unsafe environment and getting little pay. Workers were losing body parts due to their job and were not allowed to take off work. If they took off work they would lose their job due to the amount of people trying to get a job. Many families were also losing their loved ones due to unsafe machinery and working conditions.

Examples of unions

  • Knights of Labor
  • American Rights at Work
  • American Labors Study Center (ALSC)
  • American Postal Workers Union (APWU)
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  • American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA)

Conditions of Post Formation Unions

  • racism- many colored people didn't feel like they were getting helped.
  • Many riots and strikes
  • All the riots and strikes didn't really change anything.
  • Some people lost their jobs for being in a union.

History of Unions in Wisconsin

  • In 1848 workers went on strike at Milwaukee, it was successful.
  • Then a unions formed called the Knights of St. Crispin but it later was ended.
  • In 1911 the first Compensation law was passed in the U.S. in Wisconsin.
  • later on in 1958 AFL-CIO was created in Wisconsin.

Current State of unions (WI and US)


  • The membership and creations of unions has been declining.
  • Romney has closed all teacher unions.
  • Many people feel a little better about our economy