Workers realized the maltreatment of their employers that necessitated the need for more trade unions causing their steady increase by mid of 19th Century. In many cities, trade unions joined together in city- wide federations though it was not successful. This dream was realized when a meeting was convened that constituted workers’ representative from a few of traders and industries at Pittsburgh in 18 81. Later, this Federation gained much popularity when it passed a resolution that declared a legal labor day shall constitute of eight hours as from May 1, 1886 (Ibid).
This Federation was later reorganized by the delegates that met on Columbus, Ohio in attempt to create a renovated organization that resulted to the formation of American Federation of Labor (AFL). This was huge step towards the development of the modern trade union movement in America. Though the new AFL faced much opposition from different cooperation by then, it gained much support form the government during World War 1 under leadership of Gompers who worked in close cooperation with President Wilson to ensure industrial peace and also steady flow of military equipment and armaments need for Expeditionary Force in Europe.
Gompers during this time acted as head of War Committee on Labor and member of Council for Defense, trade unions being represented played a great role in national affairs. Gompers pushed for creation of International Labor Organization (ILO), which was to be an inter-governmental body stationed at Geneva where the government, labor and employer delegates and advisers were to discuss international problems that directly affect the workers and seek improvement of working standards plus right of workers in every country.
After World War II, ILO became a specialized international agency of United Nation. When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the American, he facilitated Congress passing of the National Recovery Administration in the Congress, where the NRA’s Section 7a had a provision for the right of unions to exist and negotiate with their employers. Even though in real sense it did not have actual enforcement power, millions of workers considered it as an invitation to join the movement.
But latter the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Nevertheless, later National Labor Relations Act-known as Wagner Act was enacted and it was more than the former in that it went forth and establish a legal basis for unions, set of collective bargaining as matter of a national policy required by the law, provided the secret ballot elections for choosing of unions and protected union members from employer intimidation and coercion (http://www. uwstout.
edu/cas/socsci//tyson/laborhis. htm, para 17). The Committee for International Organization (CIO) was formed from split members of AFL to carry out industrial unionism and within short time it successfully brought industrial unionism to large sectors of basic America industry. After a while AFL and CIO merged to two labor group at a convention in New York and they had common objectives; to improve the working conditions at local national and internationally.
Notably with labor, politics was part of its interest. Due to this there was development of AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) that enabled labor to achieve three goals namely, to make workers aware of the records and promises of the running candidates for public office, to encourage workers to register to vote and also to endorse candidates at local, state and national level.