Showing posts from February, 2011

Union Myths vs. History

There are changes for which unions claim credit, but that really started to change before unions became involved. Two issues I'll quickly address in this blog entry are civil service protections and early workplace safety.

Many of the benefits attributed to unions were actually a result of the "Civil Service" reforms before the 20th Century meant to end the patronage systems nationally and in New York. In NYC, things were so bad the state took over Civil Service rules from 1870 to 1900. Unions helped push many reforms, definitely, especially in terms of safety, but not as many as commonly thought.

Disgusted by the "spoils go to the victors" approach of the Andrew Jackson Democrats, Republican President Chester A. Arthur pushed for the Pendleton Act. The public, outraged by the "Spoils System" of patronage, helped push President Arthur, once a supporter of patronage, to embrace public employee reforms. The Pendle…