The story of America is the story of the people who built it – business owners, farmers, factory workers and slaves. For more than 100 years, workers have led the way. This exhibit is a brief history of organized labor in the United States, and a tribute to their dedication in pursuing the American Dream. The Industrial Revolution changed the conditions of work. It changed the relationship between employers and employees. Workers banded together in labor unions to help make their jobs safer, more secure and more prosperous. Unions represented the interests of the working class.
Fair pay and fair treatment was the working class American Dream. By the 1950's, almost 40 percent of American workers belonged to a labor union. The efforts of organized labor made our standard of living possible, for union members and for all working Americans. At some time you, your parents or grandparents have worked 40 hours a week for a paycheck. You've made at least minimum wage. You've taken a vacation, or used sick days, or put on safety equipment supplied by an employer. You have inherited the legacy of the labor movement.
In 1937 in the city of Monroe, Michigan, workers at the Newton Steel Plant picketed and later went out on strike. Most workers and residents did not...