Wednesday July 4, 2018, is Independence Day. It is a federal holiday in the United States and celebrated on the fourth of every July. The day celebrates the date when the original thirteen colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. This significant step came one year after the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. It conveyed in no uncertain terms the grievances of the American people against King George III and the British parliament.
In the United States history of unions, workers and trade unions played an important role in the push for independence. Although their physical efforts for the cause of independence fell short of the mark, the ideas they introduced, such as protection for workers became part of the American culture.
The origin of labor unions dates back to the eighteenth century and the industrial revolution in Europe. There was a large number of new workers that needed to be represented.
In the history of America's trade and labor unions, the most famous organization would probably be the American Federation of Labor (AFL) founded in 1886 by Samuel Gompers. At its strongest, the AFL had about 1.4 million members. The AFL is credited with successfully negotiating wage increases for its members and enhancing workplace safety for everyone. Union membership and power peaked around 1970. Since then corporations and politicians have done everything possible to weaken unions.
A labor union is an organization of workers dedicated to protecting its member's interests and improving wages, hours of work, and working conditions for all. Unions work like a democracy. They hold elections for officers who make decisions on behalf of its members, giving workers more power on the job. A local union is a locally based group of workers with a charter from a national or international union such as the IBEW.
Enjoy your Independence Day holiday!