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History Essay For Out Of This Furnace

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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 didn't intervene against these unions efforts and later strikes was much better that the hostility of earlier presidents before Franklin Roosevelt. Although the AFL focused on skill laborers and also did little for the working man, there were other movements such as the CIO that created more unskilled workers unions and paved the way for some significant strikes.

CIO: Committee for Industrial Organization

The purpose of the CIO was to help organize workers in unions for specific industries. An example of this is the SWOC, Steel Workers Organizing Committee. With efforts focused on the unskilled laborer, campaigns of the CIO were able to lead to significant and industry changing strikes. For example, inspired by the recently passed Wagner Act, which protected labor's right to bargains and supervised election of unions, rubber workers in



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