National Labour Union - 1866

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The National Labour Union (NLU) - 1866

  • An attempt to form a single association that crossed ALL crafts and trades and draw mass membership.
  • The NLU campaigned for an eight-hour day, currency and bank reform, the end of convict labour, a federal labour department and immigration restriction; particularly of the Chinese. 
  • More significantly, the NLU promoted the cause of working women as well as encouraging African Americans to form unions. However, these were to be seperate from the NLU.
  • The NLU was short lived. Strikes by the Iron Founders failed -> this weakened the NLU's position, however, it did not deter membership; by 1868 the union had over 300,000 members across the USA.
  • After the strikes Slyvis, the leader, realised that the only way that labour rights could be established was through polictical reform. However, his sudden death in 1869 prevented the NLU from further progression and marked the demise of the NLU.
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