The Knights of Labor Essay

The Knights of Labor Essay

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The Knights of Labor represented the pinnacle of the up lift labor movement. They, at one time, had membership that numbered in the hundreds of thousands and nearly hit a million members. This organization was unique in its time because it espoused many of the ideals we hold today as statutory for an ethical and equitable society as well as employee and employer relationships. The Knights of Labor did not begrudge industry or capitalism, moreover they were less of a concern than the organization’s larger goal to protect and promote social equity in labor and society, for the common man.
The organization was distinctive for is time. There were other labor unions, but the Knights supported trade craftsmen, common laborers, and worked for the well being of both. According to Dessler (2011) “the Knights of Labor had engaged in a class struggle to alter the form of society, and thereby get a bigger chunk of benefits for its members” (p.544-545). In contrast the American Federation of Labor (AFL) concentrated on practical concerns. “Samuel Gompers aimed to reach the same goal by raising day-to-day wages and improving working conditions” (Dessler, 2011, p. 545). Rituals and rites, secrecy, and a belief that labor was a key component to the industry of the country and as such should also have a voice in the organizations, community, and country the supported the ideas of their organization.
The preamble of the constitution of the Knights of labor spells out the main goals of the organization. According to Kaufman 2001,
The Knights listed their principal aims as to bring within the folds of organization every department of productive industry, to secure to the toilers a proper share of the wealth that they create, to educate wo...


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... of Labor Unions in Labor Markets. In R. C. Free (Ed.), 21st Century Reference Series. 21st Century Economics (Vol. 1, pp. 163-172). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.library3.webster.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX1700400026&v=2.1&u=edenweb_main&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w
Dessler, G. (2011). Human resource management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Kaufman, J. (2001). Rise and Fall of a Nation of Joiners: The
Knights of Labor Revisited. Journal of Interdisciplinary
History, 31(4), 553. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/
stable/206859
Kemmerer, D., & Wickersham, E. (1950). Reasons for the growth of
The knights of labor in 1885-1886. Industrial & Labor
Relations Review, 3(2), 213-220. Retrieved from http://
library3.webster.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.
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