Labor movement

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The Labor movement or labour movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement (British English) or labor union movement (American English), also called trade unionism or labor unionism on the one hand, and the political labour movement on the other.


  • [T]he Nazi years had already accustomed Germans to an all-encompassing labor organization through the Labor Front, which had enjoyed considerable appeal among workers, not least because of its insistence on broad inclusiveness and equality between 'workers of the hand and the mind'.
    • David E. Barclay and Eric D. Weitz, editors, Between Reform and Revolution German Socialism and Communism from 1840 to 1990, Berghahn Books, Chapter 16, Diethelm Prowe (1998) p. 402
  • Ten thousand times has the labor movement stumbled and fallen and bruised itself, and risen again; been seized by the throat and choked and clubbed into insensibility; enjoined by courts, assaulted by thugs, charged by the militia, shot down by regulars, traduced by the press, frowned upon by public opinion, deceived by politicians, threatened by priests, repudiated by renegades, preyed upon by grafters, infested by spies, deserted by cowards, betrayed by traitors, bled by leeches, and sold out by leaders, but notwithstanding all this, and all these, it is today the most vital and potential power this planet has ever known, and its historic mission of emancipating the workers of the world from the thraldom of the ages is as certain of ultimate realization as is the setting of the sun.
  • Today in America, unions have a secure place in our industrial life. Only a handful of reactionaries harbor the ugly thought of breaking unions and depriving working men and women of the right to join the union of their choice. I have no use for those -- regardless of their political party -- who hold some vain and foolish dream of spinning the clock back to days when organized labor was huddled, almost as a hapless mass. Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of the right to join the union of their choice.
  • American labor was strongest when the threat of communism was greatest. The apogee of America's welfare state, with all its limitations, was coterminous with the height of the Cold War. The dismantling of the welfare state and the labor movement, meanwhile, marched in tandem with communism's collapse.
  • The Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers (AFT), the sec­ond largest teach­ers’ union in the coun­try, passed a res­o­lu­tion in sup­port of the Green New Deal at its bien­ni­al con­ven­tion at the end of July. The Green New Deal, fed­er­al leg­is­la­tion intro­duced in ear­ly 2019, would cre­ate a liv­ing-wage job for any­one who wants one and imple­ment 100% clean and renew­able ener­gy by 2030. The endorse­ment is huge news for both Green New Deal advo­cates and the AFL-CIO, the largest fed­er­a­tion of unions in the Unit­ed States. The AFT’s endorse­ment could be a sign of envi­ron­men­tal activists’ grow­ing pow­er, and it sends a mes­sage to the AFL-CIO that it, too, has an oppor­tu­ni­ty to get on board with the Green New Deal.... The Green New Deal’s focus on invest­ing in high-speed rail could mean sig­nif­i­cant poten­tial work for elec­tri­cians and rail work­ers like Lib­er­a­to. The leg­is­la­tion also calls for ​“repair­ing and upgrad­ing the infra­struc­ture in the Unit­ed States,” which means fix­ing bridges and roads, retro­fitting build­ings, and updat­ing sewage and water sys­tems. And the AFT’s green school build­ings cam­paign will need the sup­port of build­ing trades unions, like elec­tri­cians, plumbers, roofers, and boil­er­mak­ers. All of this infra­struc­ture work means more union jobs — but only if the labor move­ment acknowl­edges the true mag­ni­tude of cli­mate change and decides to play a lead­er­ship role in fight­ing it.
  • Labor’s cur­rent focus is get­ting Joe Biden elect­ed... He promis­es to ​“ful­fill our oblig­a­tion to work­ers… who pow­ered our indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion and decades of eco­nom­ic growth” by secur­ing coal min­ers’ pen­sions and ben­e­fits. And he also promis­es to ​“put peo­ple to work by enlist­ing them to help fight the pan­dem­ic, includ­ing through a Pub­lic Health Jobs Corps.” But unlike the Green New Deal leg­is­la­tion, his plat­form has no explic­it promise of a job for all who want one... ​“What we need to do is pres­sure Biden into a Jobs for All pro­gram, and the green is not in the head­line, but it’s incor­po­rat­ed into it. The envi­ron­men­tal­ists will read the fine print, and maybe labor can look at it and say, this is what we need.”
  • History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them
  • The organized workers of America, free in their industrial life, conscious partners in production, secure in their homes and enjoying a decent standard of living, will prove the finest bulwark against the intrusion of alien doctrines of government.
  • Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden unveiled a $2 trillion energy plan Tuesday with a heavy focus on the Green New Deal agenda... Speaking in Wilmington, Del., Biden promised a “clean energy revolution,” which he said would deliver millions of jobs... Biden detailed what he called a pro-union platform that would replace the US government’s car fleet with American-made electric vehicles... The former veep on Tuesday promised to “create millions of high-paying union jobs by building a modern infrastructure and a clean energy future” and described his vision of a US covered in 500,000 electric car charging stations and thriving factories producing green products.
  • The quality of his being one with his people, of having no artificial or natural barriers between him and them, made it possible for him to be a leader without ever being or thinking of being a dictator.

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