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Industrial relations in the United States: A way from confrontation to cooperation

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Confrontation.
    1. The origins of the employer-employee conflicts (1770-1800).
    2. The industrial revolution and the first unions (1800-1870).
    3. The violent era (1870-1900).
  3. Cooperation.
    1. Beginning of the 19th century: An institutionalization of labour relations.
    2. From the great depression to WWII: Towards collective bargaining.
    3. From industrial relations to employment relations: 1960- present.
  4. Conclusion.

The industrial relations characterize the employee-employers relation in a company. In the United States, the term ?industrial relation? really appeared with the creation of the Commission on Industrial relations in 1912 after two leaders of the Structural Ironworkers Union killed twenty persons in the dynamite bombing of the L.A Times in 1910. Nevertheless, the issue of industrial relations in the US has always been part of the story of the country, with the consequences it has on the welfare of workers as well as employers that is to say on the whole nation. The United States have experienced one of the bloodiest employment relations, with a strong tradition of violent labour movements and harsh repression until the mid 1950, but then succeeded in changing the pattern of industrial relations to turn to more dialogue and cooperation.
From confrontation
1 The origins of the employer-employee conflicts (1770-1800)
At the time of the 1776 revolution, most American workers were self-employed: they were farmers, artisan or labourers. The tiny part which worked for a boss did so as were immigrants who wanted to learn a trade or just raise money for a time. Nevertheless, in 1776 was organized the first strike against a boss America ever recorded, with the walk of the journeyman tailors in New York city who complained about reduction pays. They had no funds but set up their own cooperative the ?house of call?. The same year was published the Tomas Paine's pamphlet ?common sense? which aimed at uniting the working force to struggle for equity. Workers, who felt dominated by the local landed and merchant-capitalist in an elitist society, started fighting to better their working conditions.

[...] UMMA, strike action is considered to be not a conspiracy to restrain trade according to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and in 1926, the Railway Labour Act prohibited employers from discriminating against workers involved in a union [1].Boards and commissions are also created to tackle labour problems. First, in 1903, The Department of Commerce and Labour is formed followed in 1918 by the National War Labour Board founded by President Wilson. The department of labour, then separated from the Department of Commerce has a Woman in Industry division established as well. [...]


[...] In 1913, the US Department of Labour is established and Secretary of Labour is empowered to "act as a mediator and to appoint commissioners of conciliation in labour disputes.? In 1917, the president decided the settlement of a mediation commission headed by the Secretary of Labour, to solve wartime labour. The different strikes and revendications led as well to several changes in the labour law. Wage-earners managed to get part of their demands satisfied. First, in 1908, In Muller v. [...]


[...] The army was called and another time, a violent confrontation took place between workers and troops in Chicago . To cooperation 1 Beginning of the 19th century: an institutionalization of labour relations The beginning of the 19th century was marked by the same will from workers to defend their right for better working conditions. But on the contrary of the 18th century, their rebellion came to real breakthrough in the American labour legislation which needs to be noted as well as the creation of several institutions. [...]

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