Craft unionism

craft unioncraft unionscraftcraft tradescraft unionistbureaucratic unionismcraft basedcraft basiscraft form of organizationcraft lines
Craft unionism refers to a model of trade unionism in which workers are organised based on the particular craft or trade in which they work.wikipedia
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Trade union

uniontrade unionistlabor union
Craft unionism refers to a model of trade unionism in which workers are organised based on the particular craft or trade in which they work.
Unions may organize a particular section of skilled workers (craft unionism), a cross-section of workers from various trades (general unionism), or attempt to organize all workers within a particular industry (industrial unionism).

Industrial unionism

industrial unionindustrial unionsrevolutionary industrial unionism
It contrasts with industrial unionism, in which all workers in the same industry are organized into the same union, regardless of differences in skill.
Industrial unionism contrasts with craft unionism, which organizes workers along lines of their specific trades, i.e., workers using the same kind of tools, or doing the same kind of work with approximately the same level of skill, even if this leads to multiple union locals (with different contracts, and different expiration dates) in the same workplace.

American Federation of Labor

AFLAmerican Federation of LabourA. F. of L.
Craft unionism is perhaps best exemplified by many of the construction unions that formed the backbone of the old American Federation of Labor (which later merged with the industrial unions of the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form the AFL–CIO).
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a national federation of labor unions in the United States founded in Columbus, Ohio, in December 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor union.

Congress of Industrial Organizations

CIOCommittee for Industrial OrganizationCommittee for Industrial Organizations
Craft unionism is perhaps best exemplified by many of the construction unions that formed the backbone of the old American Federation of Labor (which later merged with the industrial unions of the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form the AFL–CIO).
Those who favored craft unionism believed the most effective way to represent workers was to defend the advantages they had secured through their skills.

Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association

Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association of the United States and CanadaPlasterersOPCMIA
For example, in the building trades, all carpenters belong to the carpenters' union, the plasterers join the plasterers' union, and the painters belong to the painters' union.
The union traces its roots to the era of the American Civil War, when an organization known variously as the National Plasterer's Union or the National Plasterers Organization attempted to unify the various local craft unions that represented workers in the trade.

Scranton Declaration

In 1901, the AFL issued a statement referred to as the Scranton Declaration, which asserted that unions were formed on the basis of the trade practiced by a group of skilled workers.
The Scranton Declaration, sometimes called the Autonomy Declaration, was passed in 1901 by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and made craft autonomy, or craft unionism, the cornerstone of the organization.

Steel strike of 1919

Great Steel StrikeGreat Steel Strike of 19191919
In the steel industry, for example, after the routing of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers in its titanic strike against Andrew Carnegie's steel operations at Homestead, Pennsylvania in 1892, and the defeat, a generation later, of the 1919 steel strike, the craft unions within the AFL claimed that any attempt to organize steel workers must recognize their separate craft jurisdictions: workers who used bricks to build kilns or similar structures would have to belong to the brickmasons union, workers who sawed wood to build structures within the plant should be carpenters, and so forth.
It was a union of skilled iron and steel workers which was deeply committed to craft unionism.

One Big Union (concept)

One Big UnionOne Big Union conceptone big unionists
One early challenge came from outside: the Western Federation of Miners, a union that had fought a series of violent battles with mine owners over the right to represent mill workers as well as hard rock miners, joined with activists from other unions and from the Socialist Labor Party of America to form the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which aimed to organize all workers, regardless of craft, nationality, gender or race, into one big union.
Unions initially organized as craft unions.

Industrial Workers of the World

IWWWobbliesWobbly
One early challenge came from outside: the Western Federation of Miners, a union that had fought a series of violent battles with mine owners over the right to represent mill workers as well as hard rock miners, joined with activists from other unions and from the Socialist Labor Party of America to form the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which aimed to organize all workers, regardless of craft, nationality, gender or race, into one big union.
The Wobblies, as they were informally known, differed from other union movements of the time by promotion of industrial unionism, as opposed to the craft unionism of the American Federation of Labor.

Socialist Labor Party of America

Socialist LaborSocialist Labor PartySoc-Lab
One early challenge came from outside: the Western Federation of Miners, a union that had fought a series of violent battles with mine owners over the right to represent mill workers as well as hard rock miners, joined with activists from other unions and from the Socialist Labor Party of America to form the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which aimed to organize all workers, regardless of craft, nationality, gender or race, into one big union.
Others rejected the existing network of craft unions as hopelessly reactionary bureaucracies, sometimes outright criminal in their administration, but never able to see beyond their own narrow and isolated concerns of wages, hours, recognition, and jurisdiction.

William Hutcheson

William L. Hutcheson
This dispute came to a head at the AFL’s convention in Atlantic City in 1935, when William Hutcheson, the President of the Carpenters, made a slighting comment about a member of the fledgling union of tire factory workers who was delivering an organizing report.
A conservative craft unionist, he opposed the organization of workers in mass production industries such as steel and automobile manufacturing into industrial unions.

Labor federation competition in the United States

Labor federation competition in the U.S.labor federationa wide variety of union experiences and traditions
This distinction between craft and industrial unionism was a hotly contested issue in the first four decades of the twentieth century, as the craft unions that held sway in the American Federation of Labor sought to block other unions from organizing on an industrial basis in the steel and other mass production industries.
The oft conflicting philosophies between the craft unionists and the industrial unionists played a role, as did differing ideas about political vs. industrial action; electoral politics; immigration; legislation; union democracy; and, the inclusion of women, black workers, and Asians.

Craft

craftstradetrades
Craft unionism refers to a model of trade unionism in which workers are organised based on the particular craft or trade in which they work.

Skill

skillscompetenceSkillset
It contrasts with industrial unionism, in which all workers in the same industry are organized into the same union, regardless of differences in skill.

AFL–CIO

AFL-CIOAmerican Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial OrganizationsAmerican Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
Craft unionism is perhaps best exemplified by many of the construction unions that formed the backbone of the old American Federation of Labor (which later merged with the industrial unions of the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form the AFL–CIO).

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and JoinersCarpentersUnited Brotherhood of Carpenters
For example, in the building trades, all carpenters belong to the carpenters' union, the plasterers join the plasterers' union, and the painters belong to the painters' union. This dispute came to a head at the AFL’s convention in Atlantic City in 1935, when William Hutcheson, the President of the Carpenters, made a slighting comment about a member of the fledgling union of tire factory workers who was delivering an organizing report.

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

PaintersInternational Brotherhood of Painters and Allied TradesPainter's Union
For example, in the building trades, all carpenters belong to the carpenters' union, the plasterers join the plasterers' union, and the painters belong to the painters' union.

Collective agreement

collective bargaining agreementcollective agreementsCBA
Each craft union has its own administration, its own policies, its own collective bargaining agreements and its own union halls.

Mass production

mass-producedmass-productionmass-produce
This distinction between craft and industrial unionism was a hotly contested issue in the first four decades of the twentieth century, as the craft unions that held sway in the American Federation of Labor sought to block other unions from organizing on an industrial basis in the steel and other mass production industries.

Shoemaking

shoemakercobblershoemakers
The first unions established in Russia in the early nineteenth century tended, by nature of the industries in which their members worked, to be craft unions: shoemakers, cordwainers (shoemakers who work with cordovan leather) and typesetters all worked, as a rule, in small shops in which they had little contact with workers in other fields.

Cordwainer

cordwainerscobblersshoe and boot maker
The first unions established in Russia in the early nineteenth century tended, by nature of the industries in which their members worked, to be craft unions: shoemakers, cordwainers (shoemakers who work with cordovan leather) and typesetters all worked, as a rule, in small shops in which they had little contact with workers in other fields.

Typesetting

typesettercompositortypeset
The first unions established in Russia in the early nineteenth century tended, by nature of the industries in which their members worked, to be craft unions: shoemakers, cordwainers (shoemakers who work with cordovan leather) and typesetters all worked, as a rule, in small shops in which they had little contact with workers in other fields.

Guild

guildscraft guildtrade guild
Some of these early unions also came out of a guild tradition, in which skilled workmen often owned their own shops or, if they worked for another, had a good deal of control over how the work was done, which they policed by maintaining standards for admission into the trade, requiring entrants to go through an apprenticeship program controlled by the union, rather than the employer, and dictating the processes, tools, standards and pace of work.

Apprenticeship

apprenticeapprenticedapprenticeships
Some of these early unions also came out of a guild tradition, in which skilled workmen often owned their own shops or, if they worked for another, had a good deal of control over how the work was done, which they policed by maintaining standards for admission into the trade, requiring entrants to go through an apprenticeship program controlled by the union, rather than the employer, and dictating the processes, tools, standards and pace of work.

International Typographical Union

Typographical UnionITUmailers
These traditions persisted into the twentieth century in fields such as printing, in which the International Typographical Union would enforce its own rules determining how work was done in union shops, and in the construction industry.