The Labor Movements In The United States And The United Kingdom
Keywords:The Combination Acts, Knights of Labor, American Federation of Labor (AFL), Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), union density, closed shop, union shop.
AbstractThe rise of the labor movements in the United Kingdom in the 17th century and in the United States in the 19th century, their growth through most of the 20th century, and their steady decline since the 1970s reflect several similarities and differences in their experiences, strategies, tactics, and goals. Both movements faced many early challenges that threatened their survival, and went through growth periods, followed by the current decline phase in which they are struggling to prove their worth and relevance in changing economies and new labor market realities. This article examines the similarities and differences in these labor movements’ experiences, and in their past and current environments. It argues that labor unions are not likely to face the destiny of the dinosaurs, but they may have to continue to evolve, adjust, and innovate to stop their decline and appeal to a changing labor force. Their bread and butter focus, however, is likely to remain as the core of their existence.
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