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Publication Type dissertation
School or College David Eccles School of Business
Department Business Administration
Author Pawar, Sheelwant Bapurao
Title An environmental study of the development of the Utah labor movement, 1860-1935
Date 1968
Description This is a study of the impact of an environment upon the development of the Utah labor movement. In order to understand the development of a labor movement, one has to study the environment and the conditions under which that particular labor movement emerged and grew. John R. Commons advocated an approach to the study of unionism which involved critical analysis of the interrelationships of the environmental factors on the one hand and the history of labor conditions, of labor philosophies, and of labor movements on the other. Out of the studies of various labor movements evolved the truism that any labor movement responds to prevailing social, economic and political conditions. In view of this truism, an environmental study of the Utah labor movement becomes a "case study." John T. Dunlop maintains that the labor movement is a complex phenomenon, and that its history does not readily lend itself to any single explanatory formula. Dunlop has developed a generalized approach for the study of a labor movement. He examines a labor movement in the context of its total environment which help explain the emergence, the growth, the goals, and the motivation behind the formation of a labor organization. Basically, this study applies Dunlop's approach to the study of the Utah labor movement. In addition, it also considers Milton Derber's recent study which attempts to assess a small community's impact on labor-management relationships. The Utah labor movement is a product of its environment. A span of over seventy-five years of Utah labor activities is the subject under scrutiny in this study. Utah history offers a peculiar set of environmental factors for the study of its early social and economic institutions. Here one finds the foundation and evolution of a pioneer society in which the founders were determined to achieve economic welfare through cooperative efforts. During the early period, especially prior to the 1900's, the social and economic activities were primarily organized and directed by religious institutions. These early characteristics of Utah society left their mark on the subsequent development of economic institutions, including labor organizations. In order to understand the conditions under which the Utah labor movement originated and developed, it was necessary to divide the period under study into segments which would render meaningful a comparison between the Utah labor movement and the national labor movement. Each one of the four major periods in the Utah labor movement from 1860 to 1935 reflected in its characteristics and structure the changing environment within which the Utah labor movement had to function. The years from 1860 to 1880 were characterized by collective labor activities of skilled craftsmen in their respective trades. This was also true of the earlier organizations of the skilled craftsmen on the national scene. These collective activities, though primarily social in nature, also reflected a consciousness among the workers to combine together for common good. This was the basis for the development of trade-unions during the later period. The formal unionization of Utah labor groups occurred during the 1880's. The changing socio-economic conditions of the labor force were partly responsible for the early unionization. In addition, the trends in the national labor movement influenced the Utah labor movement while in its embryonic stage. Nevertheless, by 1889 the Utah labor movement took a specific structural form when a city central federation of organized trades was established. The most important period in the history of the Utah labor movement was during its extention period from 1890 to 1920. It forms a core of the Utah labor movement. It was during this period the Utah labor movement completed its organizations structure and formed its craft-conscious, conservative philosophy. The conservative group in the Utah labor movement came into conflict with the radicals within the labor movement, and it also came into conflict with the employer groups and the Mormon Church outside of the movement. These internal and external conflicts considerably weakened the labor movement by the end of 1920. The years from 1921 to 1933 were marked with a sharp decline in the activities of the Utah labor movement -- a situation which was alleviated only by the timely developments of the New Deal Program. The year 1933 marked the rebirth of the Utah labor movement when the N. I. R. A. was passed. The Wagner Act revitalized the organization of Labor in Utah. In general, the major business upswings saw the rise in union activities in Utah; this was demonstrated by the increased participation of organized labor in social celebrations. On the other hand, the recessions and depressions seemed to have dampened the activities of Utah's organized labor. Thus, the economic environment on the national and local levels proved to be significant external factors affecting the structure of the Utah labor movement. The threat of a "machine" was never a serious problem for the unions in Utah during 1860-1935. The mechanical improvement, which could be termed technological, created some minor problems during the early period of their introduction. The records of the local unions, however, fail to indicate any significant impact on their structure or philosophy. The political environment in Utah, with its mixture of radicalism and conservatism, was not only a factor in the factionalism -- conservative versus radical -- within the labor movement, but was also a force of no little consequence in the development of a labor code by legislative action. The economic and political efforts of organized labor were quite influential in securing the passage of significant labor laws. However, the extent that a reasonably broad labor code was realized in the first two decades of the twentieth century relatively more emphasis of Utah labor organizations could be and was directed towards their immediate economic needs. The Mormon Church which dominated the social environment in Utah prior to the 1900's, influenced fundamental features of the "infant" labor movement in Utah. It is interesting to note that as the influence of the Mormon Church on the social and economic life of Utah was becoming less and less powerful, unionism grew quantitatively and qualitatively stronger, This, however, should not be construed as a proof that the Mormon Church alone was directly responsible for the slower growth of unionism in Utah, Nevertheless, as part of the environment, the labor philosophy of the Mormon Church and its reaction to the growth of unionism in Utah became one of the significant social factors exerting measurable influence on the structure and nature of the Utah labor movement, The Church had no objection to the formation of labor organizations as long as the doctrine of "free-agency" was not violated, which meant that those who desired not to join the union could stay out of it, But the members of a craft desirous of forming a union to secure "job control" wanted each and every member to join the union, since that was the only way to control the jobs effectively in that craft or trade, Thus, the "free-agency" doctrine created a source of conflict between the Mormon Church and the labor movement in Utah. In conclusion, the Utah labor movement during the period from 1860 to 1935 grew within the confines of the national economic environment, The general growth of the Utah labor movement from 1860 to 1935 broadly coincided with the developments in the American labor movement over the same period. The local economic, political, and social factors, however, certainly influenced the Utah labor movement in shaping its essentially conservative and crafts-conscious nature. Throughout its history, the conservative element in the Utah labor movement conflicted seriously with the Mormon Church on some of the principles of unionism.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Sheelwant Bapurao Pawar
Format Extent application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6sr3sq9
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-10-28
Date Modified 2021-04-26
ID 1474114
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6sr3sq9

Page Metadata

Title Page 36
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-10-28
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 1474150
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6sr3sq9/1474150