Historical Influences on Labor

M1D2: Historical Influences on Labor
Relations (1paragraph) so this one and the
discussion 1 above should be take one
page all together and if I can get it back
Wednesday in the afternoon I would
appreciate that, the Assignment one I can
get it Saturday Afternoon)

Before you begin this activity, be sure that you have:
 Read Chapters 1 and 2
 Reviewed the PowerPoints for:
o Chapter 1 [PDF file size 6.9 MB]
o Chapter 2 [PDF file size 10.9 MB]
 Reviewed the videos
In this discussion, we’ll consider how history has impacted labor-management relations
in the U.S. The system allows for employers and unions to resolve disputes on their
own and for “checks and balances” to help equalize power between management and
In your initial post please address the following:

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 Based on the readings and your knowledge of U.S. history, which three events do
you feel were most important in shaping the labor relations system?
 In your response, explain why you selected the events and describe their impact on
labor relations today. You must provide support for your response by referencing
information in the textbook or other academic sources.
Once you have posted your response, you must also read through your classmates’
posts. From the responses choose some that you find interesting and respond
substantively to them. You are also responsible for responding to students who post
comments regarding your initial posts. The goal is to create a dialog among the class.


Expert Answer

Historical Influences on Labor

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Several events in history have shaped the labor relations and laws today. In 1842, labor strikes were made legal in a court in Massachusetts (Witte, 1926). This was the beginning of collective bargaining becoming legal for labor unions. The move resulted in the establishment of labor unions, with the International Typographical Union being established in the 1850s as the first national labor union. In 1890, the Sherman Antitrust Act was formed, forbidding any “restraint of commerce” across the United States (Letwin, 1981). Courts ruled that any strikes and boycotts by unions were covered by the law. This act was a crackdown on unions, which resulted in resistance from unions. This resistance that ensued was the beginning of labor law reforms which resulted in the strikes and boycotts being made legal. In 1894, the American Railway Union led its members into a nationwide boycott and strike, which resulted in the slowing down of the national railway system (Warne, 1955). These events were the beginning of labor unions and resulted in the legalization of union activities such as collective bargaining.


Letwin, W. (1981). Law and economic policy in America: The evolution of the Sherman Antitrust Act. University of Chicago Press.

Warne, C. E. (Ed.). (1955). The Pullman boycott of 1894: the problem of Federal intervention (Vol. 26). Heath.

Witte, E. E. (1926). Early American Labor Cases. The Yale Law Journal, 35(7), 825-837.

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