Unions – Jimmy Hoffa
Not a lot of people know about the Irish labor leader, Jimmy Hoffa. He was more than just a labor leader, and as a result, his story is often overlooked. Yet, if we truly think about it, we can see that there were times when that labor movement in America needed to organize people like Jimmy Hoffa.
For instance, at one time, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was more than just a union, but a unique type of organization. In addition to that, in those days, this union was better organized than most unions today.
Before the AFL, there was another union that existed in the United States. It was called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was an organization that had been formed to protect members from being mistreated by employers in the case of an accident on the job.
The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was a union that required all members to be paid for their services. This, as we can see, is not something that most unions require today.
As a result, it was necessary for Jimmy Hoffa to create something like this in the mid 1900s. This group of workers needed to be able to organize, so that they could protect themselves in case of being mistreated on the job.
Unfortunately, these same things were not required by the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Therefore, Jimmy Hoffa was well aware that his idea would not be accepted and he was successful in getting the idea of a union movement for car porters started. However, the only difference between Hoffa’s proposal and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters’ proposal was that the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters’ proposal was not accepted. This is ironic, because the requirements for forming a union in the United States are much more stringent than those in Europe. A little known fact is that the U.S. government does not recognize a union anywhere in the country. Additionally, while in Europe, the union does not have to work within a specific industry, the U.S. law makes it very difficult for a union to exist in any industry, and unions can be formed only by a majority vote by the members of the union.
Even though there were instances when the nation needed a new organization, we often ignore them. So often, we see that we have built new organizations without realizing the problems that it created. In other words, we often see organizations without ever realizing how bad the situation was at the time that they were created.
For instance, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) had no problem with a labor organization until Jimmy Hoffa was involved. In fact, this union was one of the most respected unions in the United States. In fact, many leaders of the AFL understood that the reason why Hoffa was not accepted was because the organization did not meet the standards that the AFL wanted.
Why didn’t the AFL accept Hoffa’s idea? Because the AFL didn’t want to become the union of the future. The AFL wanted to be one of the unions of the past.
This is just one example of why the American workers today do not want to form a union. However, this does not mean that it should be illegal to form one. Indeed, the current laws in place to make it too difficult for a union to exist.
Therefore, it is necessary to work toward changing the present conditions, rather than fighting against the fact that we have laws that make it difficult for a union to be formed. After all, it is possible to change the current conditions, but it will require political action.