Labor's Unhappy Birth

Labor's Unhappy Birthday

Union ranks are thinning, and organized workers are losing their clout

Exactly 100 years ago next week, a ragtag group of tradesmen and industrial workers met in Pittsburgh under the leadership of Samuel Gompers, a cigarmaker from London, to form the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions. Ahead lay many battles against obstinate employers as unions fought for recognition: the Homestead and Pullman strikes in the 1890s, the bloody 1937 Battle of the Overpass in Dearborn, Mich., when Walter and Victor Reuther were attempting to organize auto workers. But...

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