In response to:

Why Do We Need Unions?

jimmylynn Wrote: Dec 15, 2012 3:14 PM
Sanity102 Wrote: (1:48 PM) ..EVERYTHING workers hold as their "rights": 40 hour work week, paid vacation, holidays, sick leave, benefits, safe work conditions is because some guy ...walk a picket line. ..the workers "rights" came about because unions backed politicians who made these "demands" rights per law. People need to read their history... Labor unions are only an extension of early workers demands. They had a place in that era. Work hours were already changing before unions appeared. Early Americans thought it was good to work long hours. They were highly industrious with strong work ethics. Dawn-to-Dusk was their standard workday with no complaints. Continue...
jimmylynn Wrote: Dec 15, 2012 3:15 PM
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Unions formed because of government intervention and from moving from a primary agriculture society that worked daylight-to-dark to a manufacturing one. Unions did not initiate these fundamental changes, they simply capitalized upon the changes that were already occurring. Reduced work hours were not initiated by unions. Actually work hours had been falling decades before labor unions appeared. Government changes made it possible for workers to organize. Government made it possible to create unions and created the first labor laws. Government did this then, before unions were formed, just as it does today.

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jimmylynn Wrote: Dec 15, 2012 3:16 PM
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Colonial America
“...Many colonial Americans held the opinion that prosperity could be taken as a sign of God's pleasure with the individual, viewed work as inherently good and saw idleness as the devil's workshop. ..In Virginia, authorities ...obliged all Englishmen (except the gentry) to engage in productive activity from sunrise to sunset. Likewise, a 1670 Massachusetts law demanded a minimum ten-hour workday...”
1820s: The Shorter Hours Movement Begins
Changes in the organization of work, with the continued rise of merchant capitalists, the transition from the artisan shop to the early factory, and an intensified work pace had become widespread by about 1825.

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jimmylynn Wrote: Dec 15, 2012 3:20 PM
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These changes produced the first extensive, aggressive movement among workers for shorter hours, as the ten-hour movement blossomed in New York City, Philadelphia and Boston. Rallying around the ten-hour banner, workers formed the first city-central labor union in the U.S., ...in the late 1820s.

1840's
“On March 31, 1840, President Martin Van Buren issued an executive order mandating a ten-hour day for all federal employees engaged in manual work.. The Massachusetts legislature proved to be very unsympathetic to the workers' demands, but similar complaints led to the passage of laws in New Hampshire (1847) and Pennsylvania (1848), declaring ten hours to be the legal length of the working day.

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jimmylynn Wrote: Dec 15, 2012 3:20 PM
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However, these laws also specified that a contract freely entered into by employee and employer could set any length for the workweek.....the length of the typical manufacturing workweek in the 1800s was very long by modern standards and it declined significantly between 1830 and 1890.”

http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/whaples.work.hours.us
FletchforFreedom Wrote: Dec 16, 2012 10:54 AM
Excellent choice referencing Whaples - his definitive work on child labor (at EH.com) is also quite good.

Michigan has now become the 24th state to give workers the right to work without having to join a union. The event provoked more than vigorous debate. State police had to be on duty to guarantee the safety and the ability of Michigan legislators to actually go vote on the measure.

So what is the controversy all about? I agree with folks on the left about the real issue. It's not about right to work. It's about unions themselves. Why do we have them? Why do we need them? What public purpose do they serve?

There's no mystery here. A union...