Trade Union Essay Plans

3 key questions about trade union rights

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  • Created on: 03-06-11 13:15
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"The most important obstacle to the development of Trade Union and labour rights
was divisions within the Trade Union movement." How far do you agree with this
statement?
Divisions:
Industrial Workers of the World
Immigrants (old v. new) vs. US
Unions didn't want to let Af-Ams in- they formed own organisation BSCP
Some welcomed those from other ethnic backgrounds and women
1935-55 CIO broke from AFL
Rich/poor fragmentation of workforce
Lack of women in many unions
Blue collar v. white collar, skilled v. unskilled, and organised labour v. scab labour
Changing requirements increased tension between campaigners
Lack of solidarity
Other obstacles:
EMPLOYERS- Homestead, Pullman, laissez-faire policy before Wilson, formation of
giant corps, welfare capitalism, yellow dog contracts. Monopolised industries and
focused on profit.
A.A civil rights movement was a distraction to fed. Government.
Introduction of new technology was a barrier as fewer workers were needed.
Little governmental help- Taft-Hartley Act '47, Great Society, Congress rejected '61
bill for minimum wage, Reagan the union buster and privatiser (Air Traffic Controller's
Strike).
Supreme Court often ruled in favour of employers.
Striking action didn't boost reputation as public often supported government action
against strikers. The outcome of these events sometimes resulted in bankruptcy so
financial ruin was a factor.
Failing economy- depression hindered the campaign. On the other hand times of
prosperity (benefits) may have affected progress since workers felt no need to fight
but they didn't have all the rights they deserved- union membership declined.
Conclusion: Employers were the biggest obstacle so the statement is true to some extent
but the other factor had a more significant impact on the movement.
To what extent were the 1920s and 1930s the most important period of progress for organised
labour in the USA from 1865 to 1992?

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Agree:
New Deal- Wagner Act, National Labor Relations Board was set up which enabled employees
to collectively bargain with companies and it reduced tension. It was a turning point.
Welfare capitalism perhaps improved rights as working conditions and hours were improved,
but yellow dog contracts were taking advantage of situation which halted movement.
Randolph from BSCP defeated company union and achieved its first collective bargaining
agreement with Pullman. Success of NMB.
Fair Labor Standards Act set minimum wage (1938).…read more

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