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Historical Background of Labor Unions and Advisors Essay

Project id 1000579
Subject area Writing
Document type Essay
Words 1327
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Introduction The history of labor unions dates back the late 1700's. Without strong leadership, workers were seldom able to increase their wages or working conditions. However, because powerful leaders began to emerge, labor turned into a pressure demanding to be understood by business and the authorities. Change came slowly, but through the efforts of several forward-thinking union leaders, a fantastic deal of change from the area of labor was finally attained. Historical Legal Status of Unions Trace the evolution of the legal standing of American unions. What activities were restricted by laws and judges? Did constraints increase or decrease with time? Early organized labour had no aid from the authorities and was regularly eliminated by laws and court decisions. The "conspiracy doctrine" of the late 1700's ascertained most collective activities to be in violation of the public's best interests and therefore prohibited (Fossum, 2012, p. 29). As pointed out by Fossum (2012), the organized trade and industry labour had limited success in getting more favorable wages and work hours through the early 1800's, but courts continued to interfere with most collective activities. During the second half of the 19th century, the National Labor Union, the Knights of Labour, along with the American Federal of Labor experienced a success using strikes, mediation, and negotiation from union agents (Fossum, 2012). However, economic instability led to government-ordered use of law enforcement, national troops, violence, and threats of federal criminal charges to prevent union actions (Fossum, 2012). The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 further restricted collective action by forcing unions to cover punitive damages for their actions that were decided to res...

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