Worker's Unions - What had been achieved by 1914?
- At the end of the nineteenth century there 500,000 trade union members. 1910 - over 2,000,000 and by 1920 there were 5,000,000 members.
- However, these members still only represented 20% of the non-agricultural workforce. There were still specific industries that had no union representation, especially the newer ones; steel, textiles and the automobile industries.
- The gaining of worker's rights were made by negotiations and agreements by unrecognised unions with employers, of which were too focused on profit margins and were very suspicious of the unions as they had been disruptive and violent in the past.
- There were still divisions in the working communities themselves between the skilled and unskilled, native born white workes and immigrant and African American, this made it harder to form unions and acquire organisation and leadership that could gain them better wages and better working conditions.
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- Increased employer attacks on labour such as those shown in the Homestead strike meant the AFL had to seek reform through politics rather than strikes.
- The AFL became increasingly involved in Congressional as well as local elections.
- Gompers urged support for Woodrow Wilson(d) in 1912 and achieved some success after wards as when Wilson was elected he introduced a new Department of Labour. Furthermore, the Clayton Anti-Trust ACT limited the use of court injunctions from employers, provided that there was no damaged property, this allowed peaceful strikes to take place.
- Whilst some progress had been made for worker's rights, these successes were only limited towards the white, male worker and did little for immigrants, African Americans, Native Americans and female workers
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