RG

IN CONTEXT

FOCUS

Society and the economy

KEY THINKER

Beatrice Webb (1858–1943)

BEFORE

1793 Friendly societies, an early kind of union, are given legal recognition in the UK.

1834 Workers in the US and Europe begin to unite in national organizations.

1870s Union power in France and Germany becomes firmly allied to socialist movements.

AFTER

1920s and 30s Trade unions fight for workers’ rights during the Great Depression.

1955 US unions unite under a single umbrella: the AFL–CIO.

1980s Union membership and collective bargaining begins to decline in the face of privatized public services and measures by right-wing governments to curb union power.

The term “collective ...

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