Union History
"When we know where we
came from, we'll know
where we are going"
Women in Union
History
Brief History of the
US Labor Movement
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"When employers in this country say
labor costs are too high, what they're
really saying to you is, you have it too
good. What they're really saying to you
is, all you need is enough to get you
into the plant and work."
Boris Block
"The history of America has been largely
created by the deeds of its working
people and their organizations. Nor has
this contribution been confined to raising
wages and bettering work conditions; it
has been fundamental to almost every
effort to extend and strengthen our
democracy.
William Cahn
"With all their faults, trade unions have
done more for humanity than any other
organization of men (and women) that
ever existed. They have done more for
decency, for honesty, for education, for
the betterment of the race, for the
developing of character in men (and
women) than any other association."
Clarence Darrow
"Some men rob you with a six-gun --
others rob you with a fountain pen."
Woody Guthrie
"Although it is true that only about [13
percent] of American workers are in
unions, that [13 percent] sets the
standards across the board in salaries,
benefits and working conditions. If you
are making a decent salary in a
non-union company, you owe that to
the unions. One thing that
corporations do not do is give out
money out of the goodness of their
hearts.
Molly Ivins
Labor Quote
of the Week
Today in Labor History
Labor Song
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online Bookstore
Labor Cartoon
"We are not complaining about the
work. We want to see our hard work
reflected in our pay."
Emmett J. Bogdon
The trade union movement represents
the organized economic power of the
workers... It is in reality the most potent
and the most direct form of social
insurance the workers can establish."

"Our movement is of the working
people, for the working people, by the
working people."
Samuel Gompers
"The Labor Movement was the principal force
that transformed misery and despair into hope
and progress."
Martin Luther King Jr.
"Those who say it cannot be done should not
interrupt those who are doing it."
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"History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows
that the labor movement did not diminish the
strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising
the living standards of millions, labor
miraculously created a market for industry and
lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of
production. Those who attack labor forget these
simple truths, but history remembers them."
Martin Luther King Jr
"Labor is prior to, and independent of,
capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor,
and could never have existed if Labor
had not first existed. Labor is superior
to capital, and deserves much the
higher consideration."
-- Abraham Lincoln.
"The important role of union
organizations must be admitted: their
object is the representation of the
various categories of workers, their
lawful collaboration in the economic
advance of society, and the
development of the sense of their
responsibility for the realization of the
common good."
-- Pope Paul VI.
"If I went to work in a factory, the first
thing I'd do would be to join a union."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1925, Randolph founded the
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
Serving as its president, he sought to gain
the union's official inclusion in the
American Federation of Labor, the affiliates
of which, at that time, frequently barred
African Americans from membership. The
BSCP met with resistance primarily from
the Pullman Company, which was the
largest employer of blacks at that time. But
Randolph battled on, and in 1937, won
membership in the AFL, making the BSCP
the first African-American union in the
United States. Randolph withdrew the
union from the AFL the following year,
however, in protest of ongoing
discrimination within the organization, and
then turned his attention toward the federal
government.
Biography of
A. Phillip Randolp
Are LIRR Unions asking for too much?

Joshua Freeman, a professor of labor history at the City
University of New York and author of “Working-Class New
York,” said the unions’ demands were not unreasonable.
“You’re really not talking about a whole lot more than
inflation,” he said. “People used to expect to get real
wage increases above inflation over the course of their
careers, but now it’s portrayed as unreasonable to try
to improve yourself, to try to get more than inflation.”
“There is a direct link throughout American history between
the strength of the middle class and the vitality of the labor
movement. When unions are strong, working families thrive,
with wages and productivity rising in tandem. But when the
percentage of people represented by unions is low, there is
downward pressure on wages and the middle class takes it
on the chin.”
—U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez
Why should the general Public support Unions?
RAUL A. REYES  - nbcnews.com
the future of the labor movement.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez believes that the best way to honor
workers on Labor Day is to give them a raise. “President Obama’s opportunity
agenda is about rewarding hard work with a fair wage,” he said. “That’s why we’ve
fought so hard for an increase in the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. It’s
based on a very basic value proposition: no one who works full-time in America
should have to raise their families in poverty. The president’s proposal would
benefit 28 million workers nationwide, one quarter of whom are Latino.”

Perez said that too many low-wage Latino workers face difficult choices every day.
“Do we buy a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas? Do we pay the utility bill this month
pockets, giving them a little more breathing room and peace of mind.”

Meanwhile, many union leaders say it is important to understand the significance of
Hispanics as a vital force in the labor movement.

“Everyone has read the demographic statistics on what is going on,” said Yvette
Herrera, Senior Director, Politics, Communication, and Education of the
Communications Workers of America (CWA). She acknowledged that, in years
past, unions did not do enough to reach out to Latino workers. “But I see things
changing. I see more Latino leaders in the labor movement, and they are really
coming up in terms of leadership.”

Herrera noted that unions are making a greater push in Southern states, where the
Latino population is booming. “There was a time when we stayed away from those
states,” she said. “But those days are over.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hispanic union membership is lower
than other demographic groups. In 2013, only 9.4 percent of Latinos were in a
union, which is lower than the national average for union membership of 11.3
percent.

Union membership among Hispanics is also disproportionately low considering that
Latinos comprise 15.6 percent of the workforce, and 17 percent of the population.

Chuck Rocha, president of the consulting firm Solidarity Strategies, said that
unions have “absolutely” become more inclusive of Hispanic workers. “I see more
effort being taken today by the labor movement than ever before to organize
Latinos,” he said. “Almost every union in the country has Latino outreach going on.”

A 2010 report by the National Council of La Raza found that Latinos made greater
financial gains from union membership compared to other workers, and that both
Hispanic men and women in unions earned more than their non-union
counterparts. Yet the median Hispanic income still lags behind other Americans,
and there is growing income inequality among Latinos. The question is whether
unions can play a significant role in remedying this situation.

Hector E. Sanchez, Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American
Advancement, states that that unionization is critical to improving the economic well-
being of Hispanics. “Latinos are the most likely of any group to suffer wage
violations and wage theft, they are among the highest for workplace injuries, and…
Latinas, on average, only make 60 cents on the dollar compared to other workers –
the largest wage gap among working women. So Latinos, more than other groups,
need union protections.”

Sanchez stressed the fact that organized labor is strongly supportive of immigration
reform. “Our undocumented people are the most vulnerable group in the
workforce, and we cannot ignore them. I am optimistic that we can change things,
by continuing to put pressure on the president for executive action, and on
Congress to act.”

“Latinos deserve their basic labor rights, civil rights, and human rights,” Sanchez
said. “I hope that on Labor Day, people will reflect on how many of our everyday
benefits, from social security to paid vacation to sick leave to an 8-hour workday …
were brought about because of the contributions of union movement.”
Follow links for biographies of
notable Hispanics in Labor History !
• We're determined to improve the lives of
working people and their families-both
those who are already union members and
those who don't yet have a chance to join.
              
Linda Chavez-Thompson
The use of muscle is only good for running marathons these days.
What workers need is a trained mind. Education is the most
important thing that needs to be accomplished.
                                                           
   Herman Badillo
IRSA Local 1
Vice General Chairman
African- Americans & Union
History- a reading list
Black Americans and Organized
Labor: a New History
African-Americans and the Labor
Movement
African-Americans and Labor History