An analysis of the foundation of the american federation of labor afl

Matt Bracken wrote a short story on September 11,entitled:

An analysis of the foundation of the american federation of labor afl

Lyman [from New Politics, vol. The general public in this country, unfortunately, does not know or understand the Chinese. This is due partly to the remaining effect of the propaganda against the Chinese during the anti-Chinese agitation here, but primarily to the present prevalence of certain elements in this country, which makes this knowledge and understanding impossible.

Tow, The Real Chinese in America There must be candor in disclosure, honesty in inquiry and resolute determination in attack, or we will fail again, as we have so often failed before.

Sean McGarvey

It is the apparition of the Chinese worker. Long gone from his once insecure place in the fields, factories, industries, mines, and railways on the western frontier, as well as from the shoe and cutlery manufactories where he once served as a short-term strikebreaking laborer in the Northeast, the Asian immigrant from what was once called the Middle Kingdom is today being raised from the ignominious grave to which earlier labor historians had consigned him.

But now he serves as a foil in an ongoing debate over whether organized labor's history contains a rich heritage of left-multiracial virtues or a clandestine legacy of right-racist vices.

Arrayed on each side of this battlefield of words and documents, accusations and counter-charges, are some of the finest minds and some of the newest Ph. Those who examine the patterns and consequences of white working-class racism are a dissident element among labor historians, and include Herbert Hill, Alexander Saxton, David Roediger, Nick Salvatore, Noel Ignatiev, and Gwendolyn Mink, among others.

To this force and counterforce must now be added works addressing the role of the Chinese workers and the anti-Chinese movement in the annals of American labor history.

Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act; 1 while several works on labor matters within and affecting America's Chinese by Peter Kwong 2 stand in virtual but unstated opposition to the former's roseate thesis, as do portions of the research conducted by John Kuo Wei Tchen and Herbert Hill.

For it is an undisputed fact An analysis of the foundation of the american federation of labor afl America's first labor historians took great pride in the role played by organized labor's exclusion of the Chinese worker not only from the United States but also and equally significantly in his and her exclusion from trade union membership and eviction from jobs once dearly held.

Salyer is thus quite correct when she observes, in a blurb written on the back cover of Gyory's book, that "he challenges the standard interpretations which have stood for years and become incorporated into the 'textbook' versions of American history.

The anti-Chinese agitation in California, culminating as it did in the Exclusion Law passed by Congress inwas doubtless the most important single factor in the history of American labor, for without it the entire country might have been overrun by Mongolian labor and the labor movement might have become a conflict of races instead of one of classes.

Commons 5 and Philip Taft 6 justified the anti-Chinese actions taken by America's incipient trade union movement by treating their only slightly bowdlerized versions of the rhetoric employed by the Sinophobes as part of the Zeitgeist, Gyory -- as the disciple who voluntarily accepted Gutman's challenge that someone accommodate the issues in the Chinese question to the theses central to the "New Labor History" 7 -- insists on denying that white workers and their labor institutions were possessed by a vigorous and pervasive anti-Chinese animus.

To simplify his argument, Gyory lumps his opponents into a single category. He passes lightly over Perlman's statement on the matter, and is equally complacent over related comments made by Commons, Taft, and such other labor historians as Joseph G.

Rayback and Gerald R. But, immediately, Gyory conflates their perspective with that of such present-day critics of the racist practices of organized labor as Herbert Hill, 8 Roger Daniels, 9 and Ronald Takaki, 10 -- each of whom might be said to have agreed with the traditional labor historians that the anti-Chinese attitude and actions of the formative national labor movement were central aspects of its development, but, unlike the latter, each of whom denies that this perspective and those actions were good, proper, ethical, or necessary.

Gyory aims some of his most withering fire at Gwendolyn Mink. InMink had argued that white workers' support for Chinese exclusion had become "a peculiar bridge between unionism and national politics.

Gyory's answer is, as Leon Fink 19 writes in a blurb appended to the cover of Closing the Gate, one that "rescues our understanding of the tragedy of Chinese exclusion and by extension other American racial practices from the glib generalities reliant on a resort to 'racist culture' in favor of a painstaking -- if painful -- account of specific political agency.

An analysis of the foundation of the american federation of labor afl

Leaving aside debates over whether the labor movement was and, perhaps, still is racist, whether the exigencies of the times justify or fail to lend adequate support to the exclusionary position taken by the major unions, and whether workers did or did not hold to the same outlook as their own union leaders, there still remains the scholarship on this and related questions carried out by sociologists and historians of the Chinese, a body of research to which any labor historian should attend.

Of these, Gyory did pay special attention to one work: Chinese Immigration, a well documented analysis of American Sinophobia, published in and written by sociologist Mary Roberts Coolidge For Gyory, it is of utmost importance to restrict the findings of Coolidge's "California thesis," which, as he summarizes it, "blamed workers, and particularly Irish immigrants, for fanning the flames of racial hatred.

However, their findings deserve at least a hearing, if not a central place, in studies of the Chinese workingmen and working women. His neglect of these works is a glaring omission; it violates what is perhaps the single most important tenet of the New Labor History -- viz.

But more on this point below. Gyory does not bother to mention, much less refute, Rose Hum Lee's statement that America's Chinese immigrants "were excluded from skilled occupations by the labour unions' concerted efforts to bar them from shoe, textile, and tobacco making, heavy machinery and other industries.

Not that the Chinese were different from other immigrant nationalities in this respect. But it was felt that because of the greater endurance and efficiency of the Chinese laborer, he was a threat to the job tenure of the white laborer.

But not even his own distorted picture of the events leading up to the passage of the Exclusion Act will sustain this remarkable thesis. However, even if one were to accept the latter thesis for purposes of discussion, it would still be necessary to account for organized labor's persistent pursuit of exclusion after the original law had been enacted, a pursuit that continued up to and including the Congressional debates over H.

Hunt of the Teamsters' Union argued that the repeal was being "instigated by the communists and that Congress was being coerced into passing the bill" 40 -- and to which the American Federation of Labor offered "stiff opposition.

His investigation ends in61 years short of where it should have gone. Its architectonic is that of a three-legged stool upholding New Labor History's precepts as set forth by Gutman 42 and elaborated upon by David Montgomery 43 and Leon Fink. Because they were steadfast in these beliefs, Gyory insists that the white workingmen of the East Coast were either hostile to, indifferent toward, or only occasionally aroused to action by the anti-Chinese rhetoric and Sinophobic prejudices of both their West Coast compatriots and their labor movement's own leaders.

Instead of race prejudice, Gyory insists there was manifested a vague but powerful toleration of worker solidarity amidst ethnic diversity. As he would have it, it was that sense of interracial union that was manipulated by unscrupulous politicians who turned the legitimate fears of these workingmen into support for the exclusion of Chinese from the United States.

Washington State Federation of Labor records, circa 1901-1967

The second leg of Gyory's argument gives substance to these fears by reviving the "coolie" thesis, viz. The third leg consists of a subtle arrangement of the temporal aspects of labor history such that organized labor's anti-Chinese activities after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act are omitted altogether, in effect treating them as matters of minor significance, events outside the scope of Gyory's study, and thus outside the question of labor's responsibility for the treatment and condition of the Chinese labor force in America.

Each of the legs of this three-legged thesis is dependent on the other two, and each deserves critical attention. Simultaneously, it gives substance to the New Labor History's imperative that the culture of both immigrant and native workers be made a central feature of any investigation; 46 in addition, it puts a positive ideological spin on the white workingmen's opposition to Chinese contract labor.

East of the Rockies, workers clothed their protest against Chinese immigration not in the rhetoric of race versus race or native versus immigrant but in that of freedom versus slavery.Moreover, contrary to the assertion of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), we find no implied power allowing the Board to award interest at any time during the administrative review process.

Produced by the Center for Data Analysis The Heritage Foundation Massachusetts Avenue, NE Washington, DC Labor’s Paradox: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL–CIO (New York: Wiley, ), p.

6. Heritage Foundation calculations using the January–December Current Population Survey. Aug 10,  · Speaking to 1, delegates at the Federation's convention of whom were Black--Randolph announced his resignation as president of the Negro American Labor Council and praised Meany's "success.

The American Federation of Labor (AFL), headed by Samuel Gompers, opposed the ARU because it believed only skilled workers based in craft should be involved in unionization. President Emeritus, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO Edward J. McElroy, a life-long educator and Labor leader, served as Chief Executive Officer of Ullico .

F or many people, the word “summer” evokes easier days, a time when life slows down. So does the term “summer break,” a time parents, teachers, and students alike value as a well-deserved respite from the labor of the school year.

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