Craft Union

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Related to Craft unionism: Industrial unionism

Craft Union

 

a trade union whose members have a specialized skill or are qualified for a given type of work. The first craft unions arose in the late 18th century in Great Britain, Western Europe, and the United States. With the growing division of labor and the simultaneous rise of large-scale capitalist enterprises, the craft unions were superseded by the industrial unions, which united all the workers of a single enterprise, whatever their occupation, and were thus more relevant to the needs of the workers’ class struggle. The industrial unions’ influence among workers has grown considerably in the 20th century; nevertheless, craft unions have survived in a number of capitalist countries—such as Great Britain and the USA—and are even the predominant type of union in certain branches of the economy.

References in periodicals archive ?
See especially Michael Kazin, Barons of Labor: The San Francisco Building Trades and Union Power in the Progressive Era (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1989), 82-112, 145-176; and Eileen DeVault, United Apart: Gender and the Rise of Craft Unionism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004), 75-104,179-214.
Today, the industrial unionism that originated nearly half a century ago appears practically as obsolete as craft unionism did in 1932.
Meanwhile, American capitalism has been going through a reorganization perhpas as great as that which led to the demise of craft unionism early in the twentieth centiuury.
What began as a bold but narrow endorsement of industrial over craft unionism broadened into a scathing indictment of Canada's political and economic system, and an embrace of the principles and economic model of Russian Bolshevism.
The Clark thread mill strike of 1890 and the 1902 Rhode Island strike of thread mill workers, for example, readily fit the idea of exclusive male craft unionism while other disputes such as the 1892 Chicago boot and shoe strike do not.
These systems of work and their corresponding social hierarchy were reflected in two very different ideas of unionism and industrial democracy: the craft unionism of the AFL United Garment Workers (UGW) and the industrial unionism of the ACW.
In Denmark, in contrast, where craft unionism remained quite strong, the labour movement was more often beset by splits among skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled workers, and their respective organizations.
In these ways, companies in the welfare capitalist realm were instrumental in enlarging the economic, political, and social boundaries and legitimacy of capitalist production in the 1950s and 1960s -- boundaries that had been challenged by industrial and a revitalized craft unionism in the 1930s and 1940s.
When the ILGWU dropped out of the contest, the "all-in" industrial unionism of the ACWA prevailed over the craft unionism of the GMU.
It argues that the radicalism of such organizations as the Socialist Party of America (SPA) and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) did not derive from the "violence associated with frontier conditions or to the rapid emergence of an exploitative corporate capitalism in the mining West" but rather to the "traditions embedded in the world of nineteenth-century craft unionism and labor reform.
In Canada, the continuing dominance of craft unionism under American leadership hindered moves towards more effective political strategies.