Conflicting Interests • Unions arose as response to industrial factory system • Key principle of unionism is solidarity: collective action • Businesses tend to oppose unions as threats to individual freedom and economic efficiency Over the course of the nineteenth century, as industry grew and workplaces became larger and employees' relationships with their employers became less personal, individual workers lost power. There was little that one worker could do to pressure a large industrial business to increase his wages, shorten his hours, or provide better working conditions; workers who became too demanding were likely to be fired and replaced by someone else desperate enough for a job to accept harsh treatment. Heavy immigration throughout the period constantly replenished the supply of unskilled workers, making it hard for individuals to attain any leverage in negotiations with their employers. Thus workers began to embrace the idea of collective action. One worker might be powerless
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Trade union, collective action, better working conditions, large industrial business