History Essay for Out of This Furnace

Topics: Laborer, Trade union Pages: 3 (782 words) Published: November 1, 2006
In Out of this Furnace, unionism at the outset of the depression was referred to as "merciless repression." This was evident through the mere 6 percent labor force that belonged to the Unions. But with the new climate inspiring men like Dobie from Out of This Furnace and aid from the federal government in the form of the Wagner Act, during the 1930's unions were able to establish themselves, demonstrated by 1/3 workers carrying union card by 1940.

NRA: National Industrial Recovery Act
To begin, the government provided a spark that fuel unions although it was the men who fought for rights that ultimately drove them to mass success. For example, in Out of This Furnace Dobie, the third generation Slovak, mentions how in accordance with the NRA, more specifically, Section 7A (which provided for collective bargaining for workers by sanctioning the creation of unions) the steel company established the Employee Representation Plan. Although company unions like this one did little in action to help it workers (Dobie actually states that it was created to keep out the real unions), they did much psychologically. Dobie mentions that it broke the "fear of unionism the company had built up." Thus, gave men confidence to take action. This was evident through Dobie and his efforts in bringing the AFL to Braddock.

AFL: American Federation of Labor
Although the government gave unions the opportunity and power to form, it was active and determined men like Dobie that actually made it happen. Dobie and other men from Braddock requested 500 cards from the AFL, got signatures for each one and were able to establish the AFL in Braddock, a monumental achievement when compared to unions success in the past. Dobie gave up evenings, calling on men he knew and "visiting them at their homes with leaflets and application cards" (Bell 292). This achievement can also be contributed in part to the government. Although it can be said that the government did nothing, that fact that it...
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