11
THE RISE OF
INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM

Jack Barbash


DEFINITION

Industrial unionism means inclusive unionism. An industrial union admits and bargains for all or almost all classes of workers in a given industry or plant. It is a union of the skilled and unskilled. This inclusiveness of industrial unionism is in contrast to the exclusiveness of the so-called craft unions. Craft unions limit their members to a specific craft or trade. They are unions of skilled workers.

In practice, the lines between industrial and craft unionism are not so finely drawn now. Most industrial unions are multiindustry unions. Witness, for example, the United Automobile Workers in automobiles, agricultural implements, aircraft, and space. There are very few (if any) pure craft unions—perhaps the Patternmakers is one of these few. Most craft unions are really multi-craft or trade unions, like the Carpenters with membership among "carpenters and joiners, railroad carpenters, bench hands, stairbuilders, millwrights," and twenty-five additional "trades." Moreover, an "industrial" national union may divide its members into craft locals. And in the same way, a predominantly "craft" national union may have "industrial" locals.


EVOLUTION

Unions first appeared in the United States and Britain in the early 1800's and were craftsmen's unions. Inclusive movements of workers emerged later, more as concerted expressions of protest

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