The ability for workers to have any rights in the workplace was not always a reality. In fact, only a hundred years ago, workers could be expected to work long hours with low pay in dangerous conditions that could lead to death. Thanks to the work of one union organizer, people can now demand better pay and reasonable work hours without fear of losing their jobs. That union organizer, Jim Larkin, has helped hundreds of millions of people earn a better living in the 20th and 21st century.
Jim Larkin’s story began in the United Kingdom where he worked as a foreman in the Liverpool docks. Mr. Larkin was an active union organizer and a committed Socialist who wanted better conditions for himself and his workers.
However, his method of union organizing so disturbed his union bosses that he was transferred to Ireland so as to cause less trouble. Well, the exact opposite happened.
While in Dublin, Jim Larkin decided to organize a national union and in 1907, Mr. Larkin help create the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union.
Later on, Mr. Larkin created the Irish Labour Party with the goal of organizing every single worker in Ireland. With enough workers under one party, Jim Larkin was able to organize a number of national strikes, leading up to the 1913 Dublin Lockout which involved over 100,000 workers.
After the Dublin Lockout, Jim Larkin was able to win fair employment for all workers in Ireland. This groundbreaking deal helped propel Jim Larkin into the ranks of legends in the world of labor organizers. Today, Mr. Larkin is known as one of the great worker organizers in history.
Workers around the world enjoy many benefits from minimum wage to guaranteed overtime pay and even vacation and sick pay. None of these benefits would have been possible if it were not for the efforts of Jim Larkin.
As more and more people enter the global workforce, they all have a debt to pay for the hard work done by one early 20th-century dock worker who refused to work for the status quo.
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