History of Unions

Examples of Unions

American Railway Union

Knights of Labor

American Federation of Labor

Farmers' Union

Teachers' Union

Congress of Industrial Organizations

Why Unions Formed

Miners worked in extremely dangerous situations for little pay. To get more money for their work they joined together, and demanded better conditions, and higher pay. Word of the union formation spread across the United States, and people working in other industries joined to improve their own conditions. When the employers began to lose massive amounts of people in the industry agreements were made, and the union had to remain to prevent the employers from taking the workers rights.

Conditions Pre-Unions

Unsanitary and very Dangerous: A lot of injuries and deaths occured.

Children were working long hour days: Child labor was used and all workers worked for most of the day.

Little pay: There were many wage cuts, and children recieved very little money for their work.

Workers could easily be replaced by new people: Many people wanted to work so one could not demand better conditions by themselves.

Conditions Post Formation of Unions

Eight-hour work days

Work places became much safer to work in

Workers received more rights, and better pay

Child labor use was reduced

Work facilities became cleaner

It became easier to sustain a job

History of Unions in WI

First labor unions were formed in Milwaukee between the bricklayers and carpenters.

Shoemakers formed the Knights of St. Crispin which became the largest union in the nation. After the civil war wages began to drop and unions became more involved at a national scale. Some of the workers in Milwaukee created a union specifically to promote and eight-hour work day.

Current State of Unions (WI & US)

Unions are still very influential today. Not too long ago many Teachers were on strike in Chicago, and before that Madison. Many people joined these protests, but they did not get everything they had asked. An agreement was made to stop the strike though. Also some professional athletes are out of a job because of a lockout; this takes away their pay and current season of the sport. Other unions have only a slight bit of power in their profession.

Works Cited

  • "American Labor Movement." American Labor Movement. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2013.
  • Malek, Joseph. "History of Labor Unions in the United States." Helium. Helium, 01 Mar. 2007. Web. 03 Jan. 2013.
  • "Turning Points." The Birth of the Labor Movement. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2013.