The history of unions in America is complicated. They definitely served a purpose as Americans entered the industrial age, improving wages, job security and working conditions. But the movement was also susceptible to infiltration by those who wanted to fundamentally transform or even destroy the United States of America. Unions had pervasive ties to communists, thugs and the Democratic Party. Violence and racism were systemically rampant. So how did Unions begin and flourish in the U.S.? This four-part series explores the history of unions and why their time may have passed.
Listen to the full segment:
History of Labor Unions Part I
The union label song was a happy little jingle for a happy group of Americans. So happy, in fact, Al Gore once told a group of teamsters it was a "lullaby" his mother sang to him at night. Interestingly, Al Gore must have been 27 years old when his mother serenaded him, because the union label song was written in 1975.
From the beginning, unions, communism, socialism and democratic socialism have gone hand-in-hand. It may have something to do with Karl Marx and his feelings about unions:
Let the ruling class tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. Workers of the world unite.
Since both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of the Communist Manifesto, seemed to care so much for the working class, organizing workers and communism made a natural fit. That may well explain why communists were pervasive within union leadership, the union movement and the Democratic Party.
The labor movement also had significant racism. In San Francisco in the late 1880s, the union developed a slogan for their strike: "The Chinese must go." In the cigar industry, union labels signaled customers that products were made by whites, as blacks were excluded from joining unions.
Listen to all serials at glennbeck.com/serials