The past of American Labor Unions is so vast and rich. However, one can come up with at least three important events that can be considered the most important in the history of unions. These events are the organization of unions, the Great Depression, and the decline of unions. The American workers have endured a lot through the years; they have adapted to their environments and persevered long before there were unions.
First off, the organization of unions began during the eighteenth century to improve employment conditions. Many came to provide job security, shorter worker days and higher wages for the workers they represented which regained much of their former membership in 1850 with the return of prosperity.(Sloane, A.A & Witney, F., 2001). This laid the foundation for national unions.
Secondly, the Great Depression was a period that brought much stagnant activity and turmoil to people’s lives. This not only affected America, but it also affected Europe as well. As a result, many people’s views on unions were affected; once positive views became negative views. Membership which was once high during the good years now declined as a result of rising unemployment (http://economics.about.com/od/laborinamerica/a/greatdepression.htm ).
Finally, the decline of union membership hurt labor organizations over the broad spectrum, according to a survey that was sent to all national and international leaders. Although the leaders did not seem worried at that point, they did know they had a difficult road ahead of them. (stats.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1984/08/rpt1full.pdf).
In summary, the American labor unions had a deep, rich history along with the American worker who endured and persevered. They will continue to work together side by side as long as unions can remain afloat and adapt to what companies and their constituents want.
Heshizer, H. & Graham H., (1984). Are unions facing a crisis? Labor officials are divided. 23-25. Retrieved September...