The History of the Labor Movement

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  2. 2. First Steps In 1842, the court case Commonwealth v. Hunt resulted in labor unions being declared legal. This opened the door for the formation of nationwide organizations like the National Labor Union, Knights of Labor, and others.
  3. 3. O R G A N I Z I N G L A B O R 19th century unions campaigned for better pay, an eight-hour workday, better working conditions, and some even went so far as to demand medical care and other causes. While some unions were more inclusive, like the Knights of Labor, many unions refused to admit African-Americans, Chinese immigrants, women, or unskilled laborers to their ranks.
  4. 4. S T R I K E S Unions' most powerful tool was the strike. In fact, there were over 37,000 strikes between 1881 and 1905. In 1893, 250,000 workers in 27 states went on strike to demand better conditions and pay; however, this massive demonstration ended with a decisive defeat for the forces of labor.
  5. 5. Visit F O R M O R E I N F O R M A T I O N