The Power of Labor Unions

By: Alli Chenworth

What is a Labor Union?

  • A group of people uniting to improve economic positions
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Background Information

  • Workers had no say in determining their own wages, hours, or working conditions.
  • Workers decided they wanted to be treated better, so they formed groups of people to protest and promote welfare for wage earners.
  • Unions were formed because bargaining power as a group was greater than individuals, it was making a bigger statement than just one person protesting.

Protest Information

  • People protested with signs, there was not a lot of violence.
  • Workers would quit their jobs at the same time, which would make it hard to replace them all at once.
  • Some employers went out of business
  • Labor movements still happen today, although they were most common back when most jobs included poor working conditions, pay, and ridiculously long hours.

Effects of the Protest

  • By 1945, more than 1/3 of all nonagricultural laborers were union members.

  • The two sides (people and union) worked together to compromise.

  • Modern workers get paid higher wages, work shorter hours, are given better benefits, and are better protected against accidents.

  • The protests resulted in a higher standard of living for workers/wage earners.

Top 10 Labor Strikes In US History

Assessment Question: How did the participants demonstrate their belief system through their protests?

The protest participants showed that they do not believe in violence but still desperately wanted things to change. They protested with signs, or by quitting their jobs as a group to send a silent, yet impactful message to employers. This shows that they stand up for what they believe in and also do their best to provide a good life for their families.