Share For the Good of All: The Labor Movement in America

The story of America is the story of the people who built it – business owners, farmers, factory workers and slaves. For more than 100 years, workers have led the way. This exhibit is a brief history of organized labor in the United States, and a tribute to their dedication in pursuing the American Dream. The Industrial Revolution changed the conditions of work. It changed the relationship between employers and employees. Workers banded together in labor unions to help make their jobs safer, more secure and more prosperous. Unions represented the interests of the working class.

Fair pay and fair treatment was the working class American Dream. By the 1950's, almost 40 percent of American workers belonged to a labor union. The efforts of organized labor made our standard of living possible, for union members and for all working Americans. At some time you, your parents or grandparents have worked 40 hours a week for a paycheck. You've made at least minimum wage. You've taken a vacation, or used sick days, or put on safety equipment supplied by an employer. You have inherited the legacy of the labor movement.

Special Exhibit
The Eyes of the World Were Watching: the Newton Steel Strike
In 1937 in the city of Monroe, Michigan, workers at the Newton Steel Plant picketed and later went out on strike. Most workers and residents did not...

Your Story

 

LEARN MORE

0
comments

Getting the Job Done

Organized labor works for change in a number of ways. When collective bargaining is not successful, other actions put pressure on employers. Work...

visit exhibit

lesson plans

6
comments

Realizing the American Dream

American workers dreamed of the day when everyone would have a chance to succeed. They wanted a fair chance of getting hired - whatever their race or...

visit exhibit

lesson plans

1
comments

Highs, Lows, and the Future of Organized Labor

American workers face serious challenges in the Twenty-First Century. Millions of good-paying jobs have been eliminated by the use of computers and...

visit exhibit

lesson plans