The History of Trade Unionism

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Longmans, Green and Company, 1896 - Labor unions - 558 pages

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Page 22 - People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Page 1 - A Trade Union, as we understand the term, is a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working lives."1 Dankert thus formulates what he calls a comprehensive general definition, "A Trade Union...
Page 39 - ... and are of very ill example to journeymen in all other trades ; as is sufficiently seen in the Journeymen Curriers, Smiths, Farriers, Sail-makers, Coach-makers, and artificers of divers other arts and...
Page 30 - Then, as every clothier must necessarily keep one horse, at least, to fetch home his wool and his provisions from the market, to carry his yarn to the spinners, his manufacture to the fulling-mill, and when finished, to the market to be sold, and the like ; so every one generally keeps a cow or two for his family.
Page 513 - Conflicts of Capital and Labour Historically and Economically considered. Being a History and Review of the Trade Unions of Great Britain, showing their Origin, Progress, Constitution, and Objects, in their Political, Social, Economical, and Industrial Aspects.
Page 98 - All will be as orderly as even a Quaker could desire. He knows nothing of the working people who can suppose that, when left at liberty to act for themselves, without being driven into permanent associations by the oppression of the laws, they will continue to contribute money for distant and doubtful experiments, for uncertain and precarious benefits.
Page 371 - Their reckless assumption of the duties and responsibilities that only the State or whole community can discharge, in the nature of sick and superannuation benefits, at the instance of the middle class, is crushing out the larger Unions by taxing their members to an unbearable extent. This so cripples them that the fear of being unable to discharge their friendly society liabilities often makes them submit to encroachments by the masters without protest.
Page 56 - ... the right of every man to employ the capital he inherits, or has acquired, according to his own discretion...
Page 370 - The true Unionist policy of aggression seems entirely lost sight of: in fact, the average Unionist of to-day is a man with a fossilised intellect, either hopelessly apathetic, or supporting a policy that plays directly into the hands of the capitalist exploiter.
Page 119 - I will now give you a short outline of the great changes which are in contemplation, and which shall come suddenly upon society like a thief in the night.

About the author (1896)

Sidney and Beatrice Webb, English labor historians and social reformers, were a remarkable couple who had a profound influence on the social thought and political institutions of Great Britain. Their work was largely responsible for the popularity of the Fabian socialists and the repeal of the dreaded British poor laws; it also promoted widespread activities on behalf of the British labor movement and inspired key parts of the British Labor party's social program. The Webbs published some 45 books and numerous pamphlets, and founded the influential weekly, New Statesman. Beatrice, born to a wealthy London family with extensive business dealings, saw the Industrial Revolution and its political aftermath as a chapter of her family history. To prepare for an early article describing working-class poverty in London, she took tailoring lessons so that she could pose as a "plain trouser hand" to get a firsthand view of the sweatshop industry of the period. Sidney's concern for the labor movement grew out of his early interest in socialism. The Fabian Society, which he joined, was founded in 1884 and named after the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator, known as "the delayer" because of his holding tactics. The Fabians believed that socialism would develop in a democratic society by peaceful and evolutionary means rather than by revolution, as predicted by Karl Marx. By the time of their marriage in 1892, Sidney and Beatrice were intensely committed to the study of the trade union movement; they spent part of their honeymoon in Dublin in order to review the records of Irish trade societies. The result of their efforts was the History of Trade Unionism (1894), which virtually marked the beginning of the academic study of labor and industrial relations. It was followed by Industrial Democracy (1897), which portrayed unions as beneficial to the industrial movement because they established minimum working standards that would lead to the eventual well-being of society. Both works provided a history and rationale for the British labor movement---something that had been virtually ignored by academics up to that time. Other books dealt with English local government, the poor laws, the cooperative movement, and a broad range of labor issues. The Webbs believed strongly that facts alone would be sufficient to reveal the truth, and that socialism would evolve if the truth were known. This belief led them to establish the London School of Economics, which has no restrictions on the doctrinal purity of staff or faculty.

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