Smugtown video study guide Study Guide Main Smugtown Video RochesterLabor.org

EARLY UNIONS

Questions

  1. How might a worker benefit from belonging to a union whose members all do the same kind of work? How might a worker benefit from joining a union that represents different trades?
  2. What benefits are there for unions of various trades when they form a central labor body, such as the Rochester Central Trades and Labor Council?
  3. Why have the length of the workday, safety regulations, and factory inspections been such important issues for workers?

Activities

  1. Research the Rochester Labor Council: what unions belong to it, what workers does it represent, what does it do for its members, what is its role in the community?
  2. Interview a worker from one of the trade unions and write a description of a typical day in this person's work.
  3. Interview representatives from several unions. Develop questions about how their union supports its workers, the business it is a part of, and the community its workers represent.

Vocabulary

building trades

 

arcade

 

labor union

 

AFL

Glossary

Knights of Labor: Founded in 1869 this was America’s first nation-wide labor organization. By 1896 they had organized 3 million workers into 12,000 locals in 5,000 communities. Members worked in varied occupations and included women, blacks and ethnic minorities. The Knights demanded an 8-hour workday and equal pay for equal work, tried to eliminate child labor, and fought to legalize unions and nationalize transportation and communications.

Resources

Map/Guide, # 1, 10, 20, 33, 43
Directory of Unions Affiliated with the Rochester Labor Council, AFL-CIO (Published annually by the Labor Council).
Thomas R. Brooks, Toil and Trouble. (1964)
Leon Litwack, The American Labor Movement. (1962)