In late 1920, the American labor activity was in ~ a critical juncture. Having actually been valued together a companion in achieving win in human being War One, that was currently vilified as anti-American, demanding, and guilty of putting its objectives ahead that the basic welfare. What had caused such a change? together workers uncovered employers unwilling come negotiate for greater wages after the battle as prices preserved rising, strikes were referred to as by the hundreds in 1919 and also 1920. The general public condemned the strikes, resenting the cut-off of heating fuel and also other necessities, and also fearing the foreign-inspired Communists and anarchists to be behind the upheavals. The American Federation of Labor, struggling to affirm a moderate view in the profession union movement, moved to defend itself versus mounting charges of disloyalty and also radicalism.

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AFL silent film: Labor"s Reward, 1925

As part of its promotional campaign, the AFL produced the film Labor"s Reward in 1925, screening it at no charge across the country. V a dramatic plot centering on a young woman sickened native overwork in a non-union bookbinding shop, and a young job organizer that befriends her and also helps she launch a shop union, Labor"s Reward ceded two messages: (1) labor unions administer a fair and reasonable procedure for balancing the worker-employer relationship; (2) buying only union-made goods promotes workers" power to negotiate through employers. Prior to watching the enduring reel (the third of five), listen to the commentary of Steve Ross, a labor chronicler at the university of southerly California, that accompanies the short clip from the film.

See additionally in this collection: job Strike and also Labor & Capital.

Discussion Questions

What were the major goals and tactics the the AFL promotional campaign?What anti-union positions did the campaign work come refute?What were the best obstacles, native the AFL perspective, of gaining its message throughout to the American people?
What to be the "challenge accepted" in the AFL declaration? just how did the unions intended to accomplish the challenge?Why go they recognize the union together an "American institution of freedom"?How go they argue that cumulative bargaining is an application of American justice and democracy?Why did they speak to on americans to "rally v labor to the defense of ours imperiled institutions"? What were these "imperiled institutions"?What foundational American paper did lock quote in the declaration"s conclusion? Why?For what 5 rights walk they request "public support and recognition"?Conduct research on labor relationships from 1917 come 1925 to explain the eleven goals for i beg your pardon the AFL urged windy support. What certain grievances and also employer policies did the emphasize?The AFL asserted the the labor motion was struggling between two "opposing forces" to preserve its tendency identity. These forces were established as "industrial tyranny and also fanatical revolutionary propaganda" and, in another context, "autocrats the industry and the pendant of radical europe fanaticism." explain these "opposing forces" in your own words.Study the perform of 112 unions that signed the 1921 declaration and generate research study questions about labor unions in the at an early stage 20th century. To compare the American labor movement then and also now.
According come Bishop Quayle, how did job unions threaten "the very existence of our republican kind of government"?According come Samuel Gompers, why go unions have to fight versus the "stealing of democracy in government from the people"?Quayle affirmed that he and Gompers were "at one in wishing a life wage and also first-class social and family conditions." wherein did their opinions diverge, follow to Quayle?Gompers listed that various other clergymen supported the union movement. How would Bishop Quayle have responded?How did each man deal with the worry of immigrant workers" effect on America and also the union movement?Why did your correspondence failure to with mutual expertise or one "agreement to disagree"?
How did the film role as entertainment, information, and also propaganda?How successful was the movie in presenting the union perspective (as far as you deserve to tell)?If the 4 lost reels to be discovered, what would you mean them to illustrate around the AFL"s promotional campaign?What other media advancements of the period could the AFL have used in its advancement campaign? style a radio broadcast, sky advertising banner, quick "talkie," newsreel segment, etc., the would supply the AFL message.
Complete this chart to analysis the pro- and also anti-union positions. How did every side argue the it was pro-American and the other side was anti-American?
Unions value and also enhance the American ideals the freedom and democracy.
Hostility to unions is a threat to American freedom.
Working there is no union civil liberties is equivalent to involuntary servitude.
The AFL promotes moderation and also opposes radicalism.
Strikes are a means of last resort.
Unions space pro-American.
The union motion is a hazard to American liberty and security.
Unions refuse equal chance for all.
The unions work only for your members" benefit to the detriment of the basic welfare.
Unions tempt immigrant workers v radical foreign ideas.
Strikes have led come violence and injury.
Unions are un-American.

Framing Questions

What components nurtured or dilute the extraordinary prosperity the the 1920s?How walk "prosperity" become a hallmark of national pride? how was the word adjusted for political and psychological aspirations the the nation?What role did "workingmen" and also labor union play in the financial panorama of the period?Compare the Twenties" boom-and-bust with similar economic cycles before and after the decade.


Letters come a Bishop, 1920The difficulty Accepted, 1921Labor"s Reward, film, 1925TOTAL6 pp.7 pp.View online.13 pp.
AFL-CIO, official siteAFL, Letters to a Bishop, 1920, full text (Hathi trust Digital Library/Princeton college Library)AFL, The difficulty Accepted, 1921, complete text (Google Books, however search because that American Federationist, Vol. 28, Pt. 1, in Google, not Google Books)AFL, Labor"s Reward, discussion (Rochester job Council History)Labor resources in Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the consumer Economy, 1921-1929 (Library of Congress, American Memory)Primary resources in history Matters/Many Pasts (George Mason University and also the City college of new York)- command a search in numerous Pasts for 19th- and early 20th-century AFL-related primary sources.
Images:– American Federation of Labor, "The an obstacle Accepted—Labor will Not it is in Outlawed or Enslaved," The American Federationist, April 1921, very first page (details). Photo courtesy the Google Books.– Stills native Labor"s Reward, AFL film, 1925. Courtesy of the nationwide Film Preservation structure & silent Beauties.– Samuel Gompers ~ above train terminal platform, Spokane, Washington, if en course from Washington, DC, come Portland, Oregon, for AFL convention, photograph, September 25, 1923 (detail). Courtesy that the new York publicly Library, ID#1708466.– Bishop william Alfred Quayle, photograph, n.p., n.d. (detail). Archives of St. Paul institution of Theology, Kansas City, Missouri. Reproduced through permission.– Samuel Gompers in ~ the convention that the united Hatters the America, brand-new York City, photograph, April 16, 1923. Courtesy that the brand-new York public Library, ID#1708465.– Pres. And Mrs. Coolidge v delegation from the American Federation of job on the White home lawn, September 1, 1924 (details). Courtesy that the Library that Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, national Photo company Collection, LC-USZ62-111387.

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