Chronology of Labor in the United States

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About the Book

Organized labor did not become a reality in the United States until a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1842 essentially made it legal to form unions. The first successful national union was the International Typographical Union, which was formed in 1852 following a series of meetings that began in 1850. Labor unions in the United States were seen as vehicles for better wages, not as instruments for achieving social change as in Europe.
This chronology deals primarily with the history of American labor unions and their interactions with industry. The introduction discusses how labor (and manufacturing) developed in the United States before 1850, when early attempts at organizing labor failed. The chronology begins in 1850 with the beginning of talks to form the International Typographical Union. The topics covered in the chronology and in the appendices include the gradual shift of the workforce from farming to manufacturing to service occupations, women in the labor force, child labor, the average work week, unemployment compensation, the minimum wage, safety in the work place, and educational issues.

About the Author(s)

Statistical analyst Russell O. Wright is the author of a series of Chronology reference works on subjects including American housing, education, immigration, public health, transportation, and the stock market. He is also the author of several McFarland baseball books and lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Bibliographic Details

Russell O. Wright
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 146
Bibliographic Info: tables, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1444-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1187-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction      1

Chronology of Labor      17

Appendix 1: Percentage of Union Membership in Work Force (1930–2000)     109

Appendix 2: Decline in U.S. Farm Workers (1820–1994)      113

Appendix 3: Percentage of Women in the U.S. Work Force (1870–2000)     115

Appendix 4: Work Stoppages Involving 1,000 Workers or More (1960–2000)     119

Appendix 5: Minimum Wage in the United States (1938–2002)      121

Appendix 6: Biographies of Key Labor Leaders      123

Bibliography      127

Index      131