The US Labor Movement

It’s that time again, another Holiday and therefore another look at something cool and interesting outside our usual cooling comfort zone. We previously covered the origins of labor day, rather than repeat that, we’re going to explore the labor movement in the century since then!   Labor Movement? From some of the earliest days of the United States, there has been some form or other of labor movement to improve the conditions of workers. This covers everything from the push to a 40 hour work week to unions negotiating for benefits. Groups of workers, lobbyists, and whole organizations have pushed for better working conditions, laws, and benefits to the working person. During the 1800s, the labor movement was massive. At the time, there were few protections for workers of any kind. A person could be expected to work six days a week for however long the employer wanted in whatever conditions they created. It was common and expected to work for pennies a day, doing back-breaking work, in suffocating heat, while potentially being exposed to toxic substances like asbestos or being around machines that could rip your leg off. There was no workman’s compensation either, on the job injuries were only the worker’s fault for messing up. This movement was big enough that by the 1880s, there were ideas being discussed about a Labor Day. It would be a day to celebrate the workers of the country and the work […]

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