Labor Industrial Relations

American Railroad Labor and the Genesis of the New Deal, by Jon R. Huibregtse

By Jon R. Huibregtse

American historians are inclined to think that hard work activism used to be moribund within the years among the 1st global conflict and the hot Deal. Jon Huibregtse demanding situations this attitude in his exam of the railroad unions of the time, arguing that not just have been they energetic, yet that they made a giant distinction in American hard work practices via assisting to set criminal precedents. Huibregtse explains how efforts through the Plumb Plan League and the Railroad hard work govt organization created the Railroad exertions Act, its amendments, and the Railroad Retirements Act. those legislation grew to become versions for the nationwide hard work family members Act and the Social defense Act. regrettably, the numerous contributions of the railroad legislation are, regularly, ignored whilst the NLRA or Social safety are mentioned. supplying a brand new standpoint on exertions unions within the Nineteen Twenties, Huibregtse describes how the railroad unions created a version for union activism that staff' agencies for the following 20 years.

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They marked the high-water mark of union strength and power in the pre–New Deal era. When the war ended the unions were keenly aware that industrialists would use all their resources to regain lost power. Gompers, addressing the Pan American Labor Conference in Laredo, TX, just days after the war ended, said that labor would resist the attempt by employers to take away wartime gains “ . . ”19 The desire of the unions to maintain their improved position in the face of strong employer opposition in the post-war years was the basis for their electoral and lobbying efforts in the years between World War I and the New Deal.

The ICC would control stocks, bonds, and expenditure of their proceeds. Labor defeated a no-strike clause in the first draft, but there were other aspects of the proposal it found odious, one of which was that adjustment boards would not settle disputes between carriers and nonoperating brotherhoods, which would have eliminated an essential component of wartime organization. 38 The conference committee began its hearings at the end of December 1919, and soon reached an agreement. The Esch-Cummins Bill, officially the Transportation Act of 1920, went into effect on March 1.

However, the following year the operating brotherhoods, along with the RED, forged their own coalition, the Railroad Labor Executives Association (RLEA), to facilitate greater political cooperation. President Johnston of the IAM suggested a more formal union alliance. Johnston was more militant than most of his peers in the AFL; he supported industrial unionism, nonpartisan political activities, and government intervention in the economy. His opposition to the AFL’s “pure and simple” unionism may have been as a result of his early years as a member of the Knights of Labor.

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