Traditionally, the boss in the workplace was cast in the role of the taskmaster and disciplinarian, with little or minimal dialogue taking place between the two. The employee had to get somebody to raise his grievances on his behalf, hence unions were formed. They were essentially there to ensure that the employee got the worth of his labor, and that the employer provided suitable working conditions.
However, the situation at the work place is slowly changing as employers open up to the fact that employees can be more productive when they do not feel as though there s someone watching their every move, and that employees, instead of being simply people who carry out instructions, can have great input and innovative ideas for the day to day running of events at the workplace. However, labor movements and workers’ unions have not become obsolete.
It is actually at this time that they have a key role to play that goes beyond employee-employer relations. So vital is their role that there have been debates on whether there is need for the formation of a labor party that is totally separate from the Democratic and Republican parties. It shall be examined what the pros and cons are of forming a labor party, the feasibility of it and how effective such a party would be if formed.
In a separate essay, it shall also be examined what strategies the labor movements would have to adopt if they were to form a labor party as well as the challenges that they may face in the process. History of contemporary role of the labor movement in politics Yates (1998) explores the history of the labor movement in America. He explains that in the early 1900s, why the labor movement did not kick off was because the whites in America had revolted against the English monarchy, whose bourgeoisie class had been quick to form labor movement.
In their revolt the American whites completely embraced democracy and hence viewed the government as an agency that represented all equally, be they workers or employers. With time, expounds Yates (1998), the idea of the two-party system had become so firmly rooted that the introduction of a third party, the labor party, was met with a lot of resistance and reluctance. Another factor that worked against the formation of a labor party was the American ideology of individual success and deeply entrenched capitalism (Yates, 1998).
The first people to really stir up the formation of labor political parties were actually migrants from Europe. The highlights of the movement were the formation of the Socialist Labor Party, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party. In the 1930s, there was formed the Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO) and then after World War Two, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) which was a force in the fight for civil rights that happened in the sixties (Babson, 1999).