Labor Federation Competition In The United States
A labor federation is a group of unions or labor organizations that are in some sense coordinated. The terminology used to identify such organizations grows out of usage, and has sometimes been imprecise. For example, nationals are sometimes named internationals, federations are named unions, etc.
The issues that divided labor federations and fostered competition were many and varied. The oft conflicting philosophies between the craft unionists and the industrial unionists played a role, as did differing ideas about political vs. industrial action; electoral politics; immigration; legislation; union democracy; and, the inclusion of women, black workers, and Asians.
Craft unions tended to organize skilled workers, to the exclusion of the unskilled, further complicating the issue of class among working people. Frequently, the role of government has been significant or decisive in tipping the balance of power between labor federations, or in crushing labor organizations outright. Even personalities of union leaders have sometimes guided the fortunes of labor federations. That may seem inevitable when labor organizations are headed by men like Big Bill Haywood, John L. Lewis or Andy Stern.
Labor federation competition in the U.S. is not just a history of the labor movement. This article will consider U.S. labor organizations and federations that were (or are) regional, national, or international in scope, and that were (or are) in some sense intended to unite organizations of disparate groups of workers, focusing particularly on the relationships between all of these entities. Threads of union philosophy and ideology will be traced from one period to another. Conflicting union philosophies will be explored. When government actions have played a significant role in suppressing, controlling, or legislating against particular industrial actions or labor entities, resulting in the diminishing of one labor federation entity or the advance of another, that will also be presented.
Famous quotes containing the words united states, labor, federation, competition, united and/or states:
“The United States is a republic, and a republic is a state in which the people are the boss. That means us. And if the big shots in Washington dont do like we vote, we dont vote for them, by golly, no more.”
—Willis Goldbeck (19001979)
“Its not the suffering of birth, death, love that the young reject, but the suffering of endless labor without dream, eating the spare bread in bitterness, being a slave without the security of a slave.”
—Meridel Le Sueur (b. 1900)
“Women realize that we are living in an ungoverned world. At heart we are all pacifists. We should love to talk it over with the war-makers, but they would not understand. Words are so inadequate, and we realize that the hatred must kill itself; so we give our men gladly, unselfishly, proudly, patriotically, since the world chooses to settle its disputes in the old barbarous way.”
—General Federation Of Womens Clubs (GFWC)
“Mothers seem to be in subtle competition with teachers. There is always an underlying fear that teachers will do a better job than they have done with their child.... But mostly mothers feel that their areas of competence are very much similar to those of the teacher. In fact they feel they know their child better than anyone else and that the teacher doesnt possess any special field of authority or expertise.”
—Sara Lawrence Lightfoot (20th century)
“... when we shall have our amendment to the Constitution of the United States, everyone will think it was always so, just exactly as many young people believe that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses were always hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon to-day has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past.”
—Susan B. Anthony (18201906)
“Sean Thornton: I dont get this. Why do we have to have you along. Back in the states Id drive up, honk the horn, a gald come runnin out.
Mary Kate Danaher: Come a runnin. Im no woman to be honked at and come a runnin.”
—Frank S. Nugent (19081965)