10
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE
AMERICAN LABOR MOVEMENT

Philip Taft


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

In general, the American labor movement resembles those of other countries. It is made up of local, regional, national, and international (the latter are the members and locals in Canada) units. To some extent, the labor organizations of democratic countries carry on the same general activities. They negotiate agreements with employers, withdraw their services when they are unable to reach a satisfactory settlement, boycott unfair products, and provide beneficiary or fraternal and protective benefits. American labor has also developed special characteristics which are weak or absent in labor organizations outside the United States and Canada.

Aside from the few small fringe groups which espouse a variety of socialist or communist doctrines, the American labor movement is made up of the large number of trade and labor unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the unaffiliated unions which resemble the others in structure and outlook, the most important of which are the Teamsters Union and the United Mine Workers of America. Units of the Teamsters and Miners unions still maintain fairly close relations with many locals and regional groupings of the AFL-CIO, and they often cooperate with one another on political and economic matters.

The American labor movement is predominantly a movement of trade and labor unions headed by men who originally come from the shops, the mines, the transportation systems, and, in a few instances, the offices. Although many of the leaders have

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