The Most Important Accomplishment of the Labor Movement

Vincent Barletta

December 1, 2022

Vincent Barletta

Regardless of what your political beliefs are, the labor movement has had an impact on society. It has been a source of great social change, and the labor movement’s efforts have helped create jobs for people all over the world. While it has had its challenges, there have also been many victories.

American Revolution-Labor Movement

Although some people have tried to minimize the significance of the American Revolution, it remains one of the most important accomplishments of the labor movement. The American Revolution brought about four important changes. The first was a change in the colonists’ relationship with the government.

Another significant change was the emergence of industrial capitalism. In addition, the introduction of cheaper, semi-skilled labor led to the rise of trade unions. These unions were founded as a response to the dangers of working conditions. Another important achievement of the labor movement was the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. The Act guaranteed the right to bargain through representatives.

Federal railroad arbitration boards

During the Progressive Era, federal legislation created a National Mediation Board to mediate railroad disputes. This board inherited the function of several railroad arbitration panels. The National Mediation Board was created by an amendment to the Railway Act of June 21, 1934. It was originally established as the United States Conciliation Service. It was converted into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service by the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947.

The AFL also emphasized direct actions against employers. Its constitution described the struggle between capitalists and laborers. Craft unions in the AFL opposed the introduction of unskilled industrial workers into their ranks. They saw mass-production technologies as a serious threat to workers’ wages. The AFL also promoted education and social progress. Union leaders expected employers to resist elaborating work rules and pay scales. They believed that a multi-employer bargaining agreement was essential to securing competitive industries.

1933 waterfront strikes

During the summer of 1933, the Pacific Coast longshore industry went on strike. Ports from Bellingham to San Diego were shut down for 83 days. Longshoremen from Washington and Oregon joined their counterparts in California.

The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 was one of several New Deal programs that gave workers the right to join unions. The ILWU was the first of a new wave of mergers that formed after the strike. In the end, the maritime strike was successful. The newfound legitimacy of organized labor led to more partnerships and a renewed commitment to unionism. The strike also inspired a wave of strikes in many industries. The ILWU’s Waterfront Worker played a major role in organizing workers’ coastline. The fink halls and waterfront employer hiring halls were key organizing tools for the longshoremen. Fink halls would distribute Waterfront Worker newspapers.

The decline of the labor movement

During the early decades of the twentieth century, the labor movement faced enormous resistance from employers. Strikes and slowdowns occurred in various sectors of the economy. In response, workers formed craft unions to challenge their employers. These organizations often restricted entry into a craft, enforcing workplace standards.

After the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886, employers sought to disrupt the labor process by imposing new forms of work organization. They also tried to increase their market share by undercutting agreements. In response, the Knights of Labor changed their tactics. They began to challenge the new industrial companies. Powerful mining magnates often led these companies. They also saw mass-production technologies as harmful to wages. These changes led to the rapid decline of the Knights.

1968 sanitation strike in Memphis-Labor Movement

Thousands of sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, organized for better working conditions. They demanded higher wages, better safety standards, and union recognition. They also wanted the city to end discrimination. After several incidents, Memphis sanitation workers launched a strike on February 12, 1968. The strike became the first step in Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. As a result, the city became a focal point of the civil rights movement.

African American sanitation workers were dissatisfied with working conditions and their pay. The strike began after two black sanitation workers were crushed to death by a malfunctioning garbage truck. Amid the strike, the city of Memphis, Tennessee, refused to recognize the local union. The city’s mayor, Henry Loeb, refused to take dilapidated trucks off the street.