American Railroad Labor and the Genesis of the New Deal, by Jon R. Huibregtse

By Jon R. Huibregtse

American historians are inclined to think that exertions activism used to be moribund within the years among the 1st global conflict and the recent Deal. Jon Huibregtse demanding situations this angle in his exam of the railroad unions of the time, arguing that not just have been they lively, yet that they made a gigantic distinction in American hard work practices via aiding to set felony precedents. Huibregtse explains how efforts through the Plumb Plan League and the Railroad hard work government organization created the Railroad exertions Act, its amendments, and the Railroad Retirements Act. those legislation grew to become versions for the nationwide hard work kinfolk Act and the Social safety Act. regrettably, the numerous contributions of the railroad legislation are, often, neglected while the NLRA or Social defense are mentioned. providing a brand new viewpoint on hard work unions within the Twenties, Huibregtse describes how the railroad unions created a version for union activism that employees' agencies for the following twenty years.

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The operating brotherhoods used the exigent circumstances to make significant gains. In the summer of 1916, they demanded the eight-hour day and that their pay remain based on a ten-hour day. S. Board of Media- The Great War and its Aftermath 23 tion and then President Woodrow Wilson failed to negotiate a settlement. Finally, Wilson asked Congress to legislate a solution. It responded quickly with the Adamson Act, which went into effect on January 1, 1917, and granted the unions’ demands for the eight-hour day.

Loomis, president of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, summed up the opinion of management: “I do not think I need to burden you with discussion of the evils of standardization . . centralization . . may have been necessary when our country was at war. 7 Although Labor had been published less than a year, its wide circulation and growing influence were readily apparent. One illustration of Labor’s impact occurred when representatives John Cooper and Israel Foster, both of Ohio, complained in a letter to the editor about its cartoons and editorials.

Men in the switching service were more likely to be hurt or killed. 14 Passengers were also at risk. In the 1880s Massachusetts averaged 208 deaths annually, and the accident rate was worse in other states. 15 Advanced technology such as air brakes, automatic couplers, and improved communications could not remove all hazards, but safety standards had generally improved by the twentieth century. Braking was one of the most dangerous jobs. 16 When the engineer blew the whistle calling for brakes down, brakemen were to scramble up ladders and over roofs to their assigned cars to set the brakes.

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