American Federation of Labour significance 1865 - 1992

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"Assess the view that the formation of the American federation of labour was the most significant development in the successful acquisition of trade union and labour rights between 1865 and 1992" 

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Assess the view that the formation of the American federation of labour was the most significant
development in the successful acquisition of trade union and labour rights between 1864 and
1992
Introduction
American Federation of Labour
Founded in 1886 and effectively replaced the KOL
One of the first successful national labour federations aimed to link all unions and one of the
largest (1914 ­ 2 million members)
By 1955 ­ Merge of the American Federation of Labour and the CIO brought 85% of union
members into a single unit (AFL-CIO)
1955, AFL-CIO had membership of 16 million workers and American unions begin to bargain
over wages and conditions
1950s and 60s ­ AFL-CIO supported the civil rights movement by funding civil right
organisations and lobbing politicians for civil right legislation
Federal Government
1933 ­ Congress passed the National industry recovery Act (NIRA) and developed agreed
codes of practice for production levels, wage rates, working hours and trade union rights.
BUT was declared unconstitutional in 1935
Wagner Act 1935 gave workers right to join trade unions and permitted closed shops and
banned organised spies
The Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938 ­ created a $25 minimum weekly wage for industrial
workers and prohibited employment of children under 16 years of age
The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 ­ helped funding to train young people into
vocational skills or provide an education
Richard Nixon's Affirmative Action benefited blacks and ethnic minorities by challenging
discrimination in employment
Occupational Health and Safety Act 1970 helped look after workers well being
1977, Carter established a minimum wage of $2.65
JFKs "New Frontier" and "Great Society"
BUT
Herbert Hoover believed in laissez faire and therefore was not effective during recession
Regan showed the power of the government with the air traffic controllers strike
Taft Harley Act (1947) restrained power of trade unions
Leaders
William H Sylvis founded the National Labour Union. He campaigned for an 8 hour day and
recognised the need for political reform
Samuel Gompers was first leader of AFL and concentrated on practical goals such as raising
wages, reducing hours and reducing discrimination

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Terence V Powderly (Leader of KOL)
Other significant Unions
KOL ­ Goal to organise workers into one big union. They helped organise unions for
women and African Americans.
1886 ­ membership 700,000 ­ 1 million
Committee on industrial Organisation ­ CIO gathered 3.…read more

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