Although this union has not been in existence since the early part of the 20th century, I believe that the Knights of Labor had the most important programs. The union's missions were to end convict and child labor, providing women with equal pay, cooperative ownership of factories and mines, and a progressive system for income taxes. Child labor in the 19th century was prevalent and caused the shortening of life ps. The union worked to abolish this reprehensible practice of letting children work for than 8 hours in a day under undesirable conditions and for low wages. It is also admirable how the union fought for women at a time when women have little rights. The also accepted blacks in their midst.
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In terms of structure and tactics, I found the Industrial Workers of the World to be the leader in this case. The IWW is universal, meaning, it truly embraces all sorts of workers from all industries. It supports women's formation of unions and does not prevent its members from being involved with other unions. The union also believes that all labor organization should support one another in order to obtain their goals of bettering the working conditions of workers around the globe.
Pauline Newman was an immigrant to the country from Lithuania. Her parents were poor back in their old country and when her father died, her mother brought the rest of the family to the United States in the early part of the 20th century. Newman is interesting because she educated herself through extensive reading. At an early age, she worked in a garment factory where she experienced the abhorrent labor conditions. Being aware of workers' situations, Newman actively fought to make labor conditions better. She was the very first woman organizer of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, campaigning for funding and memberships all throughout the Midwest. She helped organized strikes and went to jail on some occasions. But she continued to persevere to win rights all workers, but in particular to improve the plight of women workers.
In the history of labor unions in the United States, the positive lessons that people should remember are unity and forcefulness. By unity, it means that a labor union will survive if its internal organization is not divided by strife. The Knights of Labor perished because it had so many internal issues. For instance, it promised to support women unions but did its best to keep women members outside of the union. It also did not welcome Asians. As for forcefulness, a good example was shown by the Independent Union of All Workers back in 1937 when they chose to sit down inside Woolworth's Albert Lea store as a sign of protest for management's intimidation of women workers. The union members refused to budge until such time that management recognized the organization. This show of forcefulness is necessary for unions to achieve their goals.
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