Unions

The Roaring Twenties was a time of decline for labor unions.  A labor union is defined as "an association, organization, or combination of employees who band together to secure favorable wages, improved working conditions, and better work hours, and to resolve grievances against employers"  (Aditi, 2003).  This is a unique aspect to the 20's because employment was increasing, however, unions were not.  During the war unions were thriving across the United States.  This changed during the 1920's.  Read the following article to determine why organized labor fell apart.  http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/135395/the_war_at_home_the_decline_of_organized.html
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
View the following two tables and pay attention to the year 1920 and the years surrounding it.

Table 1
Union Members per 100 Nonagricultural Workers, 1880-1985: Selected Countries

Year Canada US Austria Denmark France Italy Germany Netherlands Norway Sweden UK Australia Japan
1880 n.a. 1.8 n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
1900 4.6 7.5 n.a. 20.8 5.0 n.a. 7.0 n.a. 3.4 4.8 12.7 n.a. n.a.
1914 8.6 10.5 n.a. 25.1 8.1 n.a. 16.9 17.0 13.6 9.9 23.0 32.8 n.a.
1928 11.6 9.9 41.7 39.7 8.0 n.a. 32.5 26.0 17.4 32.0 25.6 46.2 n.a.
1939 10.9 20.7 n.a. 51.8 22.4 n.a. n.a. 32.5 57.0 53.6 31.6 39.2 n.a.
1947 24.6 31.4 64.6 55.9 40.0 n.a. 29.1 40.4 55.1 64.6 44.5 52.9 45.3
1950 26.3 28.4 62.3 58.1 30.2 49.0 33.1 43.0 58.4 67.7 44.1 56.0 46.2
1960 28.3 30.4 63.4 64.4 20.0 29.6 37.1 41.8 61.5 73.0 44.2 54.5 32.2
1975 35.6 26.4 58.5 66.6 21.4 50.1 38.2 39.1 60.5 87.2 51.0 54.7 34.4
1985 33.7 18.9 57.8 82.2 14.5 51.0 39.3 28.6 65.3 103.0 44.2 51.5 28.9
 
US Private Sector
Trade Union Membership
Year Private Sector Union Membership Percentage of Private Sector Employees Change from Previous Year
1900 917,000 6.51%  
1901 1,167,000 7.70% 18.19%
1902 1,500,000 9.26% 20.29%
1903 1,908,000 11.47% 23.95%
1904 1,995,000 12.19% 6.26%
1905 1,923,000 11.07% -9.21%
1910 2,109,000 10.47% -1.05%
1915 2,508,000 12.23% 3.60%
1920 4,664,000 19.17% 15.44%
1925 3,495,000 13.21% -5.56%
1930 3,482,000 13.30% 0.13%
1935 3,337,000 14.20% 1.39%
1940 6,848,000 24.30% 22.00%
1941 8,268,000 25.90% 6.58%
1942 9,716,000 28.10% 8.49%
1943 11,182,000 30.80% 9.61%
1944 11,598,000 32.40% 5.19%
1945 11,674,000 33.90% 4.63%
1950 13,550,000 34.60% 0.42%
1955 15,341,000 35.10% 0.29%
1956 17,114,000 38.00% 8.26%
1958 16,871,000 39.00% 1.32%
1960 16,907,000 37.00% -2.53%
1962 16,390,000 35.00% -2.67%
1964 16,403,000 34.00% -1.42%
1966 17,409,000 33.00% -1.46%
1968 17,939,000 32.00% -1.50%
1970 18,295,000 31.00% -1.55%
1972 18,181,000 30.00% -1.60%
1974 18,538,000 29.00% -1.65%
1976 17,882,000 28.00% -1.71%
1978 17,834,000 26.00% -3.51%
1980 15,273,000 20.60% -9.90%
1983 11,933,000 16.80% -5.81%
1984 11,646,000 15.50% -7.74%
1985 11,226,000 14.60% -5.81%
1986 11,051,000 14.00% -4.11%
1987 10,827,000 13.40% -4.29%
1988 10,694,000 12.90% -3.73%
1989 10,541,000 12.40% -3.88%
1990 10,247,000 12.10% -2.42%
1991 9,898,000 11.90% -1.65%
1992 9,703,000 11.50% -3.36%
1993 9,554,000 11.20% -2.61%
1994 9,620,000 10.90% -2.68%
1995 9,400,000 10.40% -4.59%
1996 9,385,000 10.20% -1.92%
1997 9,363,000 9.80% -3.92%
1998 9,306,000 9.46% -3.43%
1999 9,419,000 9.42% -0.50%
2000 9,148,000 8.99% -4.58%
2001 9,113,000 8.97% -0.18%
2002 8,800,000 8.61% -3.95%
2003 8,452,000 8.23% -4.42%
2004 8,205,000 7.92% -3.80%
2005 8,255,000 7.78% -1.82%
2006 7,981,000 7.40% -4.88%
 
 Bagchi, Aditi. 2003. "Unions and the Duty of Good Faith In Employment Contracts." Yale Law Journal 112 (May).
 
Read the following article to discover why union membership decresed.
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The Herrin Massacre
"The most brutal and horrifying crime that has ever stained the garments of organized labor." 
-- St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 24, 1922
 
 Coal Miners from Ilinois during 1920s (obtained from http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7847/massacre.htm, May 2, 2009)
Coal miners in Franklin Co., circa 1920s
 
Read the following article and view the photos to gain knowledge about the Herrin Massacre:  http://www.egyptianaaa.org/SI-HerrinMassacre.htm
 
 Now read the following article that was published in 1923 regarding the Massacre:  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,846463,00.html
 
 
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