The Labor Movement

From the earliest days of the American colonies, when apprentice laborers in Charleston, S.C., went on strike for better pay in the 1700s, to the first formal union of workers in 1829 who sought to reduce their time on the job to 60 hours a week, our nation’s working people have recognized that joining together is the most effective means of improving their lives on and off the job.

Our 21st century workplace rights and protections—like the eight-hour day and laws covering safety and health on the job—have been won by the struggles and sacrifices of working women and men who were empowered by the strength of solidarity and whose actions embodied the America dream of fairness and an opportunity for all to succeed.

Click here for key events in labor history.

The Massachusetts AFL-CIO not only builds solidarity among unions but also builds alliances with community partners including:

Working people from all walks of life join together in unions. When workers join together, they have the freedom to negotiate a fair return on their work and for better working conditions.