IRL 201 - History of American Labor and Management


Definitions: Through the Progressive Era


Anarchists - followers of the doctrine that human nature is essentially good and that evil flows from government coercion


Antebellum Period - prior to the Civil War


Anti-trust Policy - laws designed to prevent companies from monopolizing markets and thus exploiting consumers


Arbitration - settling industrial disputes by bringing in an impartial third-party to hear both sides and to decide the outcome


Artisan - skilled craft worker


Black Codes - laws  in the Postbellum period that prevented African-Americans from voting, holding office, or receiving public services.  Designed to keep them at work by requiring them to have work contracts


Blacklist - employers would circulate the names of unionists or other troublemakers on these lists to prevent the employees from finding work again in the area or the industry


Chattel - movable articles of personal property.  Slaves


Collective Bargaining - the joint determination of work rules by representatives of labor and management


Common Law - law made by judges.  The United States adopted the British system of Common Law


Communists - followers of the Marxian doctrine that capitalism inherently exploits workers and that the solution is revolution and the establishment of a workers' state


Cooperation - the ownership and operation of a business either by its workers or its customers


Cordwainers - craft workers who make shoes from cordovan leather


Craft Union - a labor union consisting of employees from a single skilled occupation


Criminal Conspiracy - two or more persons banding together to prejudice the rights of others.  Courts initially held unions to be such conspiracies


Direct Action - the IWW approach of economic and industrial activities designed to overthrow capitalism


Division of Labor - Specialization of work so that all workers do not create everything they consume


Dual Unionism - a situation in which more than one union competes for various groups of employees


Economic Action - a union strategy relying on pressuring employers and negotiating with them


Ex Parte - a court proceeding in which one of the parties is not present


Indentured Servants - workers who are compelled to work for the holder of their contract (indenture) for a fixed period of time, often in order to pay a debt


Industrial Union - a labor union consisting of employees who make a single product or service


Injunction - a court order forbidding some particular action


Jim Crow - the Postbellum system in the south of treating African-Americans as second-class citizens in terms of public facilities, public services and the law


Jurisdictional Disputes - disagreement among unions over which union should have the right to organize a particular type of employees


Labor Union - a continuous association of wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working lives


Laborers - unskilled workers doing physical labor


Level of Living - the average level of consumption of goods and services of a particular society or subgroups of that society


Mechanics' Lien Laws - laws requiring that the assets of employers who go bankrupt first be used to pay the wages owed to their workers


Moonlighting - working a second job


Mutual Benefits - a union strategy relying on the members insuring each other against certain hazards


Picketing - marching or parading at a particular location, usually a work place, as a form of protest


Property Doctrine - the idea that any interference with employers' use of their property was unlawful but that workers had no property rights in their jobs


Pure and Simple Unionism - labor unions that focus completely on the maintenance and improvement of wages, hours and working conditions.  They do not attempt to change the organization of society


Secondary Strikes and Boycotts - actions directed not at the employer with whom a union has a dispute but directed at those who do business with that employer


Semi-skilled Workers - Factory operatives whose skills can be learned in a matter of weeks


Sharecropping - a system developed in the Reconstruction period to force freedmen to work on white farms in return for a share of what they produced


Socialists - those who believe that the principal means of production and distribution should be operated by the state for the good of all


Strike - a work stoppage as a form of protest.  The term originates with seafarers striking their sails


Strikebreakers - workers who work in defiance of a union call for a strike.  Unionists refer to them as "scabs"


Syndicalists - believers in the idea that worker exploitation should be ended by the workplaces being turned over to the workers to run


Transportation - punishment of convicted criminals in Britain by sending them to the colonies and obliging them to work as prisoners for a fixed period


Turnout - an early term for a strike


Voluntarism - the doctrine that workers should rely on their own organizations and direct dealing with employers rather than on government to improve their lot


Yellow Dog Contract - a contract of employment in which the employee agrees that s/he is not a union member and will not become one