Trade Unions - Key Organisations

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National Labour Union

  • Formed by William Sylvis to protest for bnking reform, reduction to working hours and immigration restrictions.
  • Promoted cause of working women but not African Americans.
  • Failed to achieve change through strike action despite 300,000 members.

Knights of Labour (KOL)

  • Became prominent in 1879 under the leadership of Terence Powderly who demanded an 8-hour day, equal pay for women and an en to cihld labour, as well as breaking down barriers in skilled/ unskilled, uniting racial groups and women too.
  • KOL rejected strike action until 1885, seeking reforming legislation to meet their demands.
  • After the Haymarket Afai of 1886, KOL's reputation was destroyed and internal divisions caused many unions to join the AFL or IWW instead.

American Federation of Labour (AFL)

  • Sought reform through legislation and strike/ boycott action, pressuring govt at a local and national level. - Success with Woodrow Wilson with the creation of the first Dept for Labour.
  • Officially rejected discrimination and accepted African American unions, although these were usually segregated.
  • Weakened after several unions split to form CIO in 1935 in protest of AFL's concentration on craft unions, not unskilled. - Merged with CIO in 1955, regaining influence and power.

National Negro Labour Union

  • Formed in 1869 to represent African American workers ater the discriminatory actions of many major union towards black or immigrant workers.
  • Contributed to the emerging sense of…

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