Strike action called labor strike, labour strike, or strike, is a work stoppage, caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became common during the Industrial Revolution, when mass labor became important in factories and mines. In most countries, strike actions were made illegal, as factory owners had far more power than workers. Most Western countries legalized striking in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. Strikes are sometimes used to pressure governments to change policies. Strikes destabilize the rule of a particular political party or ruler. Notable examples are the 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard, the 1981 Warning Strike, led by Lech Wałęsa; these strikes were significant in the long campaign of civil resistance for political change in Poland, were an important mobilizing effort that contributed to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of communist party rule in eastern Europe. The use of the English word "strike" was first seen in 1768, when sailors, in support of demonstrations in London, "struck" or removed the topgallant sails of merchant ships at port, thus crippling the ships.
Official publications have used the more neutral words "work stoppage" or "industrial dispute". The first certain account of strike action was towards the end of the 20th dynasty, under Pharaoh Ramses III in ancient Egypt on 14 November 1152 BC; the artisans of the Royal Necropolis at Deir el-Medina walked off their jobs because they had not been paid. The Egyptian authorities raised the wages. An early predecessor of the general strike may have been the secessio plebis in ancient Rome. In The Outline of History, H. G. Wells characterized this event as "the general strike of the plebeians, their first strike occurred because they "saw with indignation their friends, who had served the state bravely in the legions, thrown into chains and reduced to slavery at the demand of patrician creditors." The strike action only became a feature of the political landscape with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. For the first time in history, large numbers of people were members of the industrial working class.
By the 1830s, when the Chartist movement was at its peak in Britain, a true and widespread'workers consciousness' was awakening. In 1842 the demands for fairer wages and conditions across many different industries exploded into the first modern general strike. After the second Chartist Petition was presented to Parliament in April 1842 and rejected, the strike began in the coal mines of Staffordshire and soon spread through Britain affecting factories, mills in Lancashire and coal mines from Dundee to South Wales and Cornwall. Instead of being a spontaneous uprising of the mutinous masses, the strike was politically motivated and was driven by an agenda to win concessions; as much as half of the industrial work force were on strike at its peak – over 500,000 men. The local leadership marshalled a growing working class tradition to politically organize their followers to mount an articulate challenge to the capitalist, political establishment. Friedrich Engels, an observer in London at the time, wrote: by its numbers, this class has become the most powerful in England, woe betide the wealthy Englishmen when it becomes conscious of this fact...
The English proletarian is only just becoming aware of his power, the fruits of this awareness were the disturbances of last summer. As the 19th century progressed, strikes became a fixture of industrial relations across the industrialized world, as workers organized themselves to collectively bargain for better wages and standards with their employers. Karl Marx has condemned the theory of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon criminalizing strike action in his work The Poverty of Philosophy. In 1937 there were 4,740 strikes in the United States; this was the greatest strike wave in American labor history. The number of major strikes and lockouts in the U. S. fell by 97% from 381 in 1970 to 187 in 1980 to only 11 in 2010. Companies countered the threat of a strike by threatening to move a plant. International Covenant on Economic and Cultural Rights adopted in 1967 ensure the right to strike in Article 8 and European Social Charter adopted in 1961 ensure the right to strike in Article 6; the Farah Strike, 1972–1974, labeled the "strike of the century," and it was organized and led by Mexican American women predominantly in El Paso, Texas.
Most strikes are undertaken by labor unions during collective bargaining as a last resort. The object of collective bargaining is for the employer and the union to come to an agreement over wages and working conditions. A collective bargaining agreement may include a clause which prohibits the union from striking during the term of the agreement, known as a "no-strike clause." No-strike clauses arose in the United States following World War II. Some in the labor movement consider no-strike clauses to be an unnecessary detriment to unions in the collective bargaining process. Strikes are rare: according to the News Media Guild, 98% of union contracts in the United States are settled each of the 67 years without a strike. Workers decide to strike without the sanction of a labor union, either because the union refuses to endorse such a tactic, or because the workers concerned are non-unionized; such strikes are described as unofficial. Strikes without formal union authorization are known as wildcat strikes
A general strike is a strike action in which a substantial proportion of the total labour force in a city, region, or country participates. General strikes are characterised by the participation of workers in a multitude of workplaces, tend to involve entire communities. General strikes first occurred in the mid-19th century, have characterised many important strikes. An early predecessor of the general strike may have been the secessio plebis in ancient Rome. In the Outline Of History, H. G. Wells recorded "the general strike of the plebeians, their first strike occurred because they "saw with indignation their friends, who had served the state bravely in the legions, thrown into chains and reduced to slavery at the demand of patrician creditors."Wells noted that "he patricians made a mean use of their political advantages to grow rich through the national conquests at the expense not only of the defeated enemy, but of the poorer plebeian..." The plebeians, who were expected to obey the laws, but were not allowed to know the laws, were successful, winning the right to appeal any injustice to the general assembly.
In 450 BC. in a concession resulting from the rebellion of the plebeians, the laws of Rome were written for all to peruse. The general strike action only became a feature of the political landscape with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. For the first time in history, large numbers of people were members of the industrial working class. By the 1830s, when the Chartist movement was at its peak, a true and widespread'workers' consciousness' was beginning to awaken in England; the first theorist to formulate and popularise the idea of a general strike for the purpose of political reform was the radical pamphleteer William Benbow. Involved with planning the attempted Blanketeers protest march by Lancashire weavers in March 1817, he became an associate of William Cobbett and passed his time "agitating the labouring classes at their trades meetings and club-houses."On 28 January 1832 Benbow published a pamphlet entitled Grand National Holiday and Congress of the Productive Classes. Benbow began to advocate direct and violent action for political reform, in particular he advanced his idea for a "national holiday" and "national convention".
By this he meant an extended period of general strike by the working classes, which would be a sacred or holy action, during which time local committees would keep the peace and elect delegates to a national convention or congress, which would agree the future direction of the nation. The striking workers were to support themselves with savings and confiscated parish funds, by demanding contributions from rich people. Benbow's idea of a Grand National Holiday was adopted by the Chartist Congress of 1839, Benbow having spent time in Manchester during 1838-9 promoting the cause and his pamphlet. In 1842 the demands for fairer wages and conditions across many different industries exploded into the first modern general strike. After the second Chartist Petition was presented to Parliament in April 1842 and rejected, the strike began in the coal mines of Staffordshire and soon spread through Britain affecting factories, mills in Lancashire and coal mines from Dundee to South Wales and Cornwall.
Instead of being a spontaneous uprising of the mutinous masses, the strike was politically motivated and was driven by a hard-headed agenda to win concessions. As much as half of the industrial workforce were on strike at its peak – over 500,000 men; the local leadership marshaled a growing working-class tradition to politically organise their followers to mount an articulate challenge to the capitalist, political establishment. The mass abandonment of plantations by black slaves and poor whites during the American Civil War has, been considered a general strike. In his classic history Black Reconstruction in America, W. E. B. Du Bois describes this mass abandonment in these terms: Transforming itself from a problem of abandoned plantations and slaves captured while being used by the enemy for military purposes, the movement became a general strike against the slave system on the part of all who could find opportunity; the trickling streams of fugitives swelled to a flood. Once begun, the general strike of black and white went madly and relentlessly on like some great saga.
The next large scale general strike took place over half a century in Belgium, in an effort to force the government to grant universal suffrage to the people. However, there were periodical strikes throughout the 19th century that could loosely be considered as'general strikes'. In the United States, the Philadelphia General Strike of 1835 lasted for three weeks, after which the striking workers won their goal of a ten-hour workday and an increase in wages. General strikes include the 1877 Saint Louis general strike, which grew out of the events of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 across the United States and the 1892 New Orleans general strike; the year of 1919 saw a cascade of general strikes around the world as a result of the political convulsions caused by the First World War – in Germany, Belfast and Winnipeg. The Russian Revolution of 1905 saw a massive wave of social unrest across the Russian Empire, characterised by large scale general strikes on the part of the industrial workers.
The 1926 United Kingdom general strike started in the coal industry and escalated.
A union label is a label, mark or emblem which advertises that the employees who make a product or provide a service are represented by the labor union or group of unions whose label appears, in order to attract customers who prefer to buy union-made products. The term "union bug" is used to describe a minuscule union label appearing on printed materials, which resembles a small insect; the invention of the union label concept is attributed to the Carpenter's Eight-Hour League in San Francisco, California which adopted a stamp in 1869 for use on products produced by factories employing men on the eight- hour day. In 1874, that city's unionized cigar-making workers created a similar "white labor" label to differentiate their cigars from those made by poorly paid, non-unionized Chinese workers; the concept of the union label as a tool for harnessing support from fellow working-class consumers for unionization spread in the next decades, first among the cigarmakers, but among other unions as well, including typographers, garment workers, coopers and iron molders.
By 1909, the American Federation of Labor had created its Union Label Department. Printer's mark
A trade union called a labour union or labor union, is an association of workers in a particular trade, industry, or company created for the purpose of securing improvement in pay, working conditions or social and political status through collective bargaining and working conditions through the increased bargaining power wielded by creation of a monopoly of the workers. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with employers; the most common purpose of these associations or unions is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment". This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring and promotion of workers, workplace safety and policies. Unions may organize a particular section of skilled workers, a cross-section of workers from various trades, or attempt to organize all workers within a particular industry; 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 have governance at various levels of government depending on the industry that binds them 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, past workers, apprentices or the unemployed. Trade union density, or the percentage of workers belonging to a trade union, is highest in the Nordic countries. Since the publication of the History of Trade Unionism by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the predominant historical view is that a trade union "is a continuous association on wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment." Karl Marx described trade unions thus: "The value of labour-power constitutes the conscious and explicit foundation of the trade unions, whose importance for the working class can scarcely be overestimated.
The trade unions aim at nothing less than to prevent the reduction of wages below the level, traditionally maintained in the various branches of industry. That is to say, they wish to prevent the price of labour-power from falling below its value". A modern definition by the Australian Bureau of Statistics states that a trade union is "an organization consisting predominantly of employees, the principal activities of which include the negotiation of rates of pay and conditions of employment for its members."Yet historian R. A. Leeson, in United we Stand, said: Two conflicting views of the trade-union movement strove for ascendancy in the nineteenth century: one the defensive-restrictive guild-craft tradition passed down through journeymen's clubs and friendly societies... the other the aggressive-expansionist drive to unite all'labouring men and women' for a'different order of things'. Recent historical research by Bob James in Craft, Trade or Mystery puts forward the view that trade unions are part of a broader movement of benefit societies, which includes medieval guilds, Oddfellows, friendly societies, other fraternal organizations.
The 18th century economist Adam Smith noted the imbalance in the rights of workers in regards to owners. In The Wealth of Nations, Book I, chapter 8, Smith wrote: We hear, it has been said, of the combination of masters, though of those of workmen, but whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate When workers combine, masters... never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combination of servants and journeymen. As Smith noted, unions were illegal for many years in most countries, although Smith argued that it should remain illegal to fix wages or prices by employees or employers. There were severe penalties for including execution. Despite this, unions were formed and began to acquire political power resulting in a body of labour law that not only legalized organizing efforts, but codified the relationship between employers and those employees organized into unions.
The origins of trade unions can be traced back to 18th century Britain, where the rapid expansion of industrial society taking place drew women, rural workers and immigrants into the work force in large numbers and in new roles. They encountered a large hostility in their early existence from employers and government groups; this pool of unskilled and semi-skilled labour spontaneously organized in fits and starts throughout its beginnings, would be an important arena for the development of trade unions. Trade unions have sometimes been seen as successors to the guilds of medieval Europe, though the relationship between the two is disputed, as the masters of the guilds employed workers who were not allowed to organize. Trade unions and collective bargaining were outlawed from no than the middle of the 14th century when the Ordinance of Labourers was enacted in the Kingdom of England but their way of thinking was the one that endured dur
One Big Union (concept)
The One Big Union was an idea in the late 19th and early 20th centuries amongst trade unionists to unite the interests of workers and offer solutions to all labour problems. Unions organized as craft unions. Workers were organized by their skill: carpenters, bricklayers, each into their respective unions. Capitalists could divide craft unionists along these lines in demarcation disputes; as capitalist enterprises and state bureaucracies became more centralized and larger, some workers felt that their institutions needed to become large. A simultaneous disenchantment with the perceived weakness of craft unions caused many unions to organize along industrial lines; as envisioned by the Industrial Workers of the World, which for many years prior to 1919 had been associated with the concept, One Big Union was not just the idea that all workers should be organized into one big union. In the 1911 pamphlet One Big Union, IWW supporters Thomas J. Hagerty and William Trautmann enumerated two goals: One Big Union needed to "combine the wage-workers in such a way that it can most fight the battles and protect the interests of the workers of today in their struggles for fewer hours of toil, more wages and better conditions," and it "must offer a final solution of the labor problem – an emancipation from strikes, bull-pens, scabbing of one against the other."One Big Union was the notional organizational concept, while the IWW's revolutionary industrial unionism was the organizing method by which that concept could be realized.
"Organizing the One Big Union of all workers the world over" was meant to achieve "working class control." But the One Big Union organizations were resisted by government and industry, subverted by existing trade unions. By 1925, only the slogan of One Big Union remained; the Industrial Workers of the World adopted and promoted the concept of the One Big Union after the publication of the One Big Union pamphlet in 1911. Members of the IWW and signed and sign letters with the closing, "Yours for the O. B. U." Many commentators regard One Big Union as synonymous with the Industrial Workers of the World. One of the popular IWW publications was called One Big Union Monthly; the IWW promoted the One Big Union concept in various ways, including as an invitation to racial equality. One IWW leaflet proclaimed: To Colored Workingmen and Women: If you are a wage worker you are welcome in the I. W. W. Halls, no matter what your color. By this you may see that the I. W. W. is not a white man's union, not a black man's union, not a red or yellow man's union, but a working man's union.
All of the working class in one big union. The IWW used the same sort of arguments to welcome women into the workforce; the appeal subsequently proclaimed the intent to organize "all wage workers... into One Big Union, regardless of creed, color, or nationality... An injury to one is an injury to all." The One Big Union idea had the immediate goals of better pay, shorter hours, better surroundings. The IWW propagandized, "Organize in one big union and fight for a chance to live as human beings should live. All together now and victory will be ours." In North America, the most significant early impetus for the One Big Union concept came from the Western Federation of Miners, headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The WFM and its allies first launched the Western Labor Union; the Western Labor Union was intended to displace the conservative American Federation of Labor in the West. The WLU's rebranding in 1902 as the American Labor Union was a direct response to actions by President Samuel Gompers; the WFM and the ALU cooperated to found the IWW.
The IWW was conceived as a global union with the goal of organizing the entire world. The concept of One Big Union, growing out of the IWW's revolutionary program, evolved over a period of time: n moving toward revolutionary industrial unionism, Denver's labor radicals were not building from scratch; the WFM had been founded as a conservative trade union after a bitter and violent strike in Coeur d'Alene in 1892. The WFM conducted a successful strike in Cripple Creek in 1894, notable for the exceedingly rare intervention of the state on the side of the striking miners, but the strike which some historians believe shaped the philosophy and tactics of the WFM, which resulted in the WFM embracing revolutionary industrial unionism and the eventual promulgation of the One Big Union concept, occurred against mine owners in Leadville. Out of that struggle came the November 1897 proclamation of the State Trades and Labor Council of Montana, a document which broke with the past – declaring that "the old form of organization is unable to cope with the recent aggressions of plutocracy" – and called for a new type of labour organization.
The WFM wasn't that organization. It had poured resources into the Leadville strike, yet was defeated. Additional resources, promised by the AFL were not provided; the solution was organizing western labourers and western unions into a new umbrella-like federation. These conclusions represented "an absolute rejection" of the AFL, of its conservative philosophy and its complacent demeanour, but the WFM did undergo substantial changes. In contrast to the AFL, the WFM... opened itself to all potential members and a
Industrial unionism is a labour union organizing method through which all workers in the same industry are organized into the same union—regardless of skill or trade—thus giving workers in one industry, or in all industries, more leverage in bargaining and in strike situations. Advocates of industrial unionism value its contributions to building unity and solidarity, many suggesting the slogans, "an injury to one is an injury to all" and "the longer the picket line, the shorter the strike." Industrial unionism contrasts with craft unionism, which organizes workers along lines of their specific trades, i.e. workers using the same kind of tools, or doing the same kind of work with the same level of skill if this leads to multiple union locals in the same workplace. In 1922, Marion Dutton Savage cataloged the disadvantages of craft unionism, as observed by industrial union advocates; these included "distressingly frequent disputes between different craft unions" over jurisdiction. Industrial unionists observe that craft union members are more required by their contracts to cross the picket lines established by workers in other unions.
In a strike of coal miners, unionized railroad workers may be required by their contracts to haul "scab" coal. Employers find it easier to enforce one bad contract use that as a precedent. Employers could show favoritism to a strategic group of workers. Employers find it easier to outsource the struck work of a craft union. A craft union with critical skills may be able to shut down an entire industry; the disadvantage is the harsh feelings of those who may be forced out of work by such an action, yet receive none of the bargained-for benefits. Savage observed that industrial unionists criticized craft unionism not only for the ineffectiveness in dealing with a single employer, but against larger corporate conglomerates. A union that challenges such a combination is most effective if its own structure reflects that of the company. Industrial unions do not assess prohibitive dues rates common with craft unions, which serve to keep out many workers. Thus, the entire group of workers finds solidarity more elusive.
The concept of industrial unionism is important, not only to organized workers but to the general public, because the philosophy and spirit of this organizing principle go well beyond the mere structure of a union organization. According to Marian Dutton Savage, who wrote about industrial unionism in America in 1922, It is this difference in spirit and general outlook, the significant thing about industrial unionism. Including as it does all types of workers, from the common laborer to the most skilled craftsman, the industrial union is based on the conception of the solidarity of labor, or at least of that portion of it, in one particular industry. Instead of emphasizing the divisions among the workers and fostering a narrow interest in the affairs of the craft regardless of those of the industry as a whole, it lays stress on the mutual dependence of the skilled and the unskilled and the necessity of subordinating the interests of a small group to those of the whole body of workers. Not only is loyalty to fellow-workers in the same industry emphasized, but loyalty to the whole working class in its struggle against the capitalist system.
Savage noted that some industrial unions of the period had "little of this class consciousness, the majority of them are distinctly hoping for the abolition of the capitalist system and the ultimate control of industry by the workers themselves."The conception of how this was to be brought about, indeed the extent to which such ideas were present in an industrial union, was quite variable from one union to another, as well as from one country to another, from one time to another. In the United States, the conception of industrial unionism in the 1920s differed from that of the 1930s, for example; the Congress of Industrial Organizations practiced a form of industrial unionism prior to its 1955 merger with the American Federation of Labor, craft unions. Unions in the resulting federation, the AFL-CIO, sometimes have a mixture of tendencies; the most basic philosophy of the union movement observes that an individual cannot stand alone against the power of the company, for the employment contract confers advantage to the employer.
Having come to that understanding, the next question becomes:, to be included in the union? The craft unionist advocates sorting workers into exclusive groups of skilled workers, or workers sharing a particular trade; the organization operates, the rules are formulated to benefit members of that particular group. Savage identified a skilled group that may not be craft based, but is nonetheless an elite group among industrial unionists, they are in essence craft groups which have been combined to solve "jurisdictional difficulties". Savage called this group an industrial union tendency rather than an example, made up of the "upper stratum of skilled trades," and describes them as retaining some autonomy within their particular trades; the industrial unionist sees advantage in organizing by industry. The local organization is broader and deeper, with less opportunity for employers to turn one group of workers against another; these are the "middle stratum" of workers. Industrial unionists motivated by a more global impulse act upon a universal premise, that all workers must support each other no matter their par
Labor unrest is strike action or industrial action undertaken by labor unions where labor disputes become violent. Such a conception of labor action was common in the United States in the 19th century. Strike action Lockout