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The Great Depression
(1929-1945)

FDR's New Deal - Organized Labor



FDR's New Deal - Organized Labor
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.79

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    now-standard, unionize, corruption, evict, re-established, forged, tactics, battered, membership, overtime, concede, wage, leadership, better, versus, unskilled
     content words:    Great Depression, National Industrial Recovery Act, Supreme Court, American Federation, Industrial Organizations, National Labor Relations Act, National Labor Relations Board, Fair Labor Standards Act, But FLSA, New Deal


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FDR's New Deal - Organized Labor
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     In 1936, the Great Depression still battered America. Roosevelt began his second term as leader of a nation in distress. Putting people to work was one of FDR's top goals, but he also wanted better lives for working people.
 
2     In his first term, Roosevelt had sent to Congress the National Industrial Recovery Act. This bill set standards for wages and working hours. It also did away with child labor. The NIRA had even established the right of laborers to organize. This set the stage for labor groups to bargain for wages and working conditions.
 
3     Congress passed the NIRA. The standards were implemented in workplaces around the country. Then the Supreme Court struck down the NIRA. The law gave the president too much power, the Court said. It also meddled in business within states, where only the states could make rules. The new standards were dismantled. It was back to the drawing board for labor.
 
4     Some skilled workers already had unions to represent them. Industrial laborers, however, had no unions. Wages and conditions for these workers were often poor. But laborers could see that workers acting as a group had a basis for bargaining. They could negotiate for better working conditions. Some members of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) began to push for unions for unskilled industrial workers.
 
5     The AFL leadership rejected this change. They also continued to deny membership to blacks and women. In order to go after their goals, the industrial groups split off from the AFL. The largest of these splinter groups was the mine and garment workers. These unskilled labor groups formed the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Their leaders began a drive to organize laborers. The CIO welcomed black workers and women, and people from these groups joined by the thousands.

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The Great Depression
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