Gompers v. Buck's Stove & Range Company
The first efforts to organize employees into unions were met with fierce resistance by employers. The U.S. legal system played a part in the resistance, indicting boot and shoemakers in Commonwealth v. Pullis (1806) for conspiring to raise their wages. The first national labor federation to remain active for more than a few years was the Noble Order of the Knights of Labor. It was established in 1869 and had set as goals the eight-hour workday, equal pay for equal work, and the abolition of child labor. The Knights of Labor grew to 700,000 members by 1886, but went into decline that year with a series of failed strikes. By 1900 it had disappeared.
Unions flourished and were at their strongest following World War II. By 1955, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) joined forces to become AFL-CIO. It is now one of the largest unions in this country with a membership of 15 million.
Over 70 unions fall under the protective umbrella of AFL-CIO, which calls itself the "voice of working American men and women."
Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917Gompers v. Buck's Stove Range Company - Significance, Historical Backdrop, Testing The Waters, The Court's Analysis, Impact, Unions