American Labor in Midpassage


  • Bert Cochran





The American scale is big and the trade unions have grown up to the same measure. The American trade union movement towers above all other trade union organizations as American industry towers above British, German, or Scandinavian. The British and Swedish unions have organized a larger percentage of the work force than the American, but the very breadth of the American trade union structure—with better than twice the membership of the British, with its 125,000 signed contracts, its approximately $500 million a year dues income and a roughly equal amount in local and district treasuries, its 650 weekly and 250 monthly publications, its 15,000 full-time national officials, organizers, and staff technicians and additional thousands in the localities, its million dollar buildings and office establishments—place it in a class apart. In terms of manpower, resources, and bureaucratic machinery, the American trade unions are the most powerful in the world—facing also the most powerful adversary in the world.

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