This page explores labor unions and their roles in the American economy.

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See also Historical Biography pages for
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Role of a Union

To advocate for the interests of its members, including issues like wages, benefits, and safety.

Benefits of union membership
  • Union employees make an average of 30% more than non-union workers.
  • 92% of union workers have job-related health coverage versus 68% of non-union workers.
  • Union workers are more likely to have guaranteed pensions than non-union employees.

Disadvantages of Union Membership
  • loss of autonomy
  • Union dues and fees
  • less collaborative work environments
  • higher wages can cause inflation

Rise and Fall of Labor Unions in the U. S. from G. Wlliam Domhoff's Who Rules America? website


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  • The Industrial Workers of the World, members of which are commonly called Wobblies, is an international labor union that was founded in 1905.
  • The union combines general unionism(Unskilled) and industrial unionism(Skilled).
  • The philosophy and tactics of the organization are often described as being revolutionary and associated with socialism and anarchism.
  • The IWW promotes the idea of "One Big Union," which was a call for an inclusive labor union both in terms of its membership being multiracial and its membership being both unskilled and skilled.
  • Notable members of the IWW include Helen Keller, Noam Chomsky, Big Bill Haywood, Eugene Debs, Dorothy Day, Mother Jones, and Tom Morello.