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Trade unions typically fund their head office and legal team functions through regularly imposed fees called union dues. The union representatives in the workforce are usually made up of workplace volunteers who are often appointed by members through internal democratic elections. The trade union, through an elected leadership and bargaining committee, bargains with the employer on behalf of its members, known as the rank-and-file, and negotiates labour contracts (collective bargaining agreements) with employers.
Unions may organize a particular section of skilled or unskilled workers (craft unionism), a cross-section of workers from various trades (general unionism), or an attempt to organize all workers within a particular industry (industrial unionism). The agreements negotiated by a union are binding on the rank-and-file members and the employer, and in some cases on other non-member workers. Trade unions traditionally have a constitution which details the governance of their bargaining unit and also have governance at various levels of government depending on the industry that binds them legally to their negotiations and functioning.
Originating in Great Britain, trade unions became popular in many countries during the Industrial Revolution. Trade unions may be composed of individual workers, professionals, past workers, students, apprentices or the unemployed. Trade union density, or the percentage of workers belonging to a trade union, is highest in the Nordic countries. (Full article...)
Strike action, also called labor strike, labour strike, or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became common during the Industrial Revolution, when mass labor became important in factories and mines. As striking became a more common practice, governments were often pushed to act (either by private business or by union workers). When government intervention occurred, it was rarely neutral or amicable. Early strikes were often deemed unlawful conspiracies or anti-competitive cartel action and many were subject to massive legal repression by state police, federal military power, and federal courts. Many Western nations legalized striking under certain conditions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.Strikes are sometimes used to pressure governments to change policies. Occasionally, strikes destabilize the rule of a particular political party or ruler; in such cases, strikes are often part of a broader social movement taking the form of a campaign of civil resistance. Notable examples are the 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard and the 1981 Warning Strike led by Lech Wałęsa. These strikes were significant in the long campaign of civil resistance for political change in Poland, and were an important mobilizing effort that contributed to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of communist party rule in eastern Europe. (Full article...)
June in Labor History
Significant dates in labour history.
- June 01 - Matthew Woll died; the United Farm Workers conducted its first strike in 1966 in Texas; the Cananea strike began in 1906 in Mexico
- June 02 - During the 1952 steel strike, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer; the Child Labor Amendment was adopted by the U.S. Congress; Charles Moyer died
- June 03 - The U.S. Supreme Court decided Hammer v. Dagenhart, outlawing child labor laws; Victor G. Reuther died; Emmanuel Christopher Loblack died
- June 04 - The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers affiliated with the CIO; Lou Cunningham was born
- June 05 - Teamsters for a Democratic Union was formed; the U.S. Supreme Court decided Hague v. CIO; the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act became law
- June 06 - Don Farrell was born; CUPE 3902 was founded; N. M. Perera was born; Thomas Jackson died
- June 07 - The Steel Workers Organizing Committee was founded; the Matignon Agreements ended a general strike in 1936 in France; John Willcock died
- June 08 - Robert Lee Hill was born; Emil Rieve was born; Percy Wells was born
- June 09 - R. J. Thomas was born
- June 10 - The U.S. Supreme Court decided Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co.; Frank Hayes died
- June 11 - John L. Lewis died; the Federación Sindical de Trabajadores Mineros de Bolivia was founded; José Bové was born
- June 12 - The 1981 Major League Baseball strike began in the U.S. and Canada; Philip Vera Cruz died
- June 13 - Israel Kugler was born; Tony Mazzocchi was born
- June 14 - 1911 Liverpool general transport strike began in the U.K.; government troops triggered the 2006 Oaxaca protests in Mexico
- June 15 - The Metal Trades Department, AFL–CIO was founded
- June 16 - Dave Beck was born
- June 18 - Battle of Ballantyne Pier occurred in Canada in 1935; the Battle of Orgreave occurred in 1984 in the U.K.
- June 19 - Nelson Cruikshank died; John W. Brown died; Tanong Po-arn disappeared
- June 20 - The American Railway Union was founded; Jim Bacon died; Evelyn Dubrow died; Alphonse Verville died
- June 21 - Nelson Cruikshank was born; the Herrin massacre occurred in 1922 in the U.S.; the U.S. Supreme Court decided United States v. Congress of Industrial Organizations; the "Molly Maguires" were hanged in the U.S.; Frank Drozak died
- June 22 - Riots occurred during the Grunwick dispute in 1976 in the U.K.; Paul Hall died; the U.S. Supreme Court decided Burlington Northern Railway v. White; the Sheffield Trades and Labour Council was founded; John Marius Trana was born
- June 23 - The Taft–Hartley Act became law in the U.S.
- June 24 - Terence V. Powderly died, Agnes Nestor was born
- June 25 - Winnipeg general strike of 1919 ended; the Smith–Connally Act became law in the U.S.
- June 26 - Timothy D. Murphy died; the Alliance of Concerned Teachers was formed; John W. Brown died; Emma Miller was born
- June 27 - The 1949 Australian coal strike began; the Industrial Workers of the World was founded; the Bureau of Labor Statistics was formed in the U.S.
- June 28 - President Grover Cleveland signed legislation establishing Labor Day in the U.S.; Alfred Miodowicz was born; Vere Bird died
- June 29 - The National Labor Relations Board was created; a lockout triggered the Homestead Strike; the merger of the blacksmiths and boilermakers formed the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers; Edward J. Carlough died; the U.S. Supreme Court decided Communications Workers of America v. Beck
- June 30 - Former labor union official Tomiichi Murayama became Prime Minister of Japan
More Did you know (auto-generated)
- ... that on March 2, 2022, 86 percent of workers in New York City's REI store voted in favor of the outdoor recreation retailer's first ever trade union, REI Union SoHo?
- ... that Wilhelm Knabe, a co-founder of the Greens in Germany and a "green" mayor of Mülheim, participated in Fridays For Future with the slogan "Opa For Future"?
- ... that during the Venezuelan general strike of 2002–2003, all but one of Venezuelan chocolatier María Fernanda Di Giacobbe's ten businesses went bankrupt?
- ... that Marco van Basten's strike in the UEFA Euro 1988 Final was described as "perhaps the most iconic goal in UEFA European Championship history"?
- ... that the 1943 Rolls-Royce strike at the Merlin engine plant in Hillington, Scotland, was the only major strike for equal pay in the United Kingdom during the Second World War?
- ... that Italian anarchists founded the first trade union for bakers in Argentina?
- Image 1Mounted police chase demonstrators through Vancouver's East End during the Battle of Ballantyne Pier in 1935.
- Image 2J. Warren Madden, the first Chair of the National Labor Relations Board.
- Image 3Political cartoon about the Coal Strike of 1902 from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Image 4Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York) notice of subway closure during the 2005 New York City transit strike.
- Image 5Striking teamsters armed with pipes battle police in the streets during the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934.
- Image 6Shields used by striking workers at the Carnegie Steel Works during the Homestead Strike in 1892.
- Image 7Barges set ablaze by steelworkers during the Homestead strike in 1892.
- Image 8Mary Harris "Mother" Jones.
- Image 9American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Albert Shanker.
- Image 10Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, and his wife, circa 1908.
- Image 11Striking I.W.W. members confront Massachusetts National Guard troops in Boston, during the Lawrence textile strike in 1912.
- Image 12An AFL–CIO protest of Rite Aid, with Rev. Mark Reisinger (Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania), Bill George, and Richard Bloomingdale.
- Image 13Cripple Creek, Colo., under martial law, during the 1894 strike.
- Image 14National Federation of Federal Employees officials sign a collective bargaining agreement with the U.S. 8th Army in October 2002.
- Image 15Samuel Gompers.
- Image 16Illustration from the Brisbane Worker newspaper condemning the brutality of the Queensland Police on Black Friday during the 1912 Brisbane General Strike.
- Image 17Former headquarters of the United Mine Workers of America and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 900 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., in 200.
- Image 18John L. Lewis (right, President of the United Mine Workers, confers with Thomas Kennedy (left), UMW Secretary-Treasurer of the UMW, and a UMW official at the War Labor Board in 1943 about a coal miners' strike.
- Image 19Knights of Labor Grand Master Workman Terence V. Powderly.
- Image 20Lewis Hine's 1920 image "Power house mechanic working on steam pump," which shows a working class young American man with wrench in hand, hunched over, surrounded by the machinery that defines his work.
- Image 21Strike leaders at the Paterson silk strike of 1913. From left, Patrick Quinlan, Carlo Tresca, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Adolph Lessig, and Bill Haywood.
- Image 22The Ludlow massacre monument located in Ludlow, Colorado, United States.
- Image 23Joe Hill.
- Image 24Union elections with an illegal firing, 1951 to 2007.
- Image 25Camp put up by striking Pepsi-Cola workers, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, 2008.
- Image 26George Meany, former leader of the AFL–CIO.
- Image 27A. Philip Randolph.
- Image 28Protesters barricade the street on June 22 during the 2006 Oaxaca protests.
- Image 29During World War II, a female aircraft worker checks electrical assemblies at the Vega Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, California.
- Image 30Memorial marker for the Bay View Tragedy.
- Image 31Exaggerated 19th century engraving showing flames and smoke following the Haymarket riot.
- Image 32United Mine Workers of America poster circa 1902.
- Image 33Crowd gathered outside old City Hall during the Winnipeg general strike, June 21, 1919.
- Image 34Registered nurses on strike in 2006 outside Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
- Image 36The Western Federation of Miners' famous flyer entitled "Is Colorado in America?".
- Image 37Wilma B. Liebman, chair, NLRB.
- Image 38Big Bill Haywood, a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World.
- Image 39Empty Gare du Nord train station during the November 2007 strikes in France.
- Image 40Richard Trumka.
- Image 41Rally in Dhaka, organized by Jatiyo Nari Shramik Trade Union Kendra (National Women Workers Trade Union Centre), an organization affiliated with the Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra.
- Image 42William Green, president of the AFL–CIO from 1924 to 1952.
- Image 43AFL–CIO unions protest outside Verizon headquarters in Philadelphia using a giant inflatable rat.
- Image 44Members of the United Steelworkers in Ohio phone bank other union members to educate them about critical issues in the 2008 election in the U.S.
- Image 45Public and Commercial Services Union members on strike in Manchester 2006.
- Image 47Breaker boys, child laborers, working in a U.S. coal mine in 1911.
- Image 48Strike sign used by the German Train Drivers' Union in the German national rail strike of 2007.
- Image 49The Place de la Sorbonne in Paris is closed by police during the 2006 labour protests in France.
- Image 50Striking American Railway Union members confront Illinois National Guard troops in Chicago, Illinois, during the Pullman Strike in 1894.
- Image 51Union members picketing recent NLRB rulings outside the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters in November 2007.
- Image 52Detail of monument to the Reesor Siding Strike of 1963.
- Image 53Striking workers march moments before the Swedish military opened fire, killing five workers during the Ådalen shootings.
- Image 54Great Railroad Strike of 1877.
- Image 55Union members march in Argentina on Human Rights Day in December 2005. The signs read "Worker rights are human rights..
- Image 56The front page of the Union Record on the Seattle General Strike of 1919.
- Image 57Armed vigilantes deport striking copper miners during the Bisbee Deportation in Bisbee, Arizona, July 12, 1917.
- Image 58Picket signs at the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike.
I'm convinced that if a company has a union in its plant, the union was pretty much invited in by the actions of the company. People don't pay union dues if they are entirely happy.
|— John H. Fanning, 1977|
Did you know
- ...that in three days of nearly non-stop negotiations, Nathan Feinsinger mediated an end to a 1947 pineapple workers' strike which threatened the entire Hawaiian economy?
- ...that while the first union was founded in 1927, Tanzania did not have a significant labor movement until the 1940s?
- ... that in 1947, 72 out of 126 trade unions in Singapore were affiliated to the communist-led Singapore Federation of Trade Unions?
Trade unions by region
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