Labor, industrialOrganizations of laboring men for mutual protection and the advancement of their common interests are by no means new or peculiar to the United States. Tradesmen's guilds and societies were common in London several centuries ago; but it was not until 1870 that such organizations began to be formidable and to have a national influence. The first trades-union in this country was established by the tailors in 1803. The first local union of printers was organized in 1831. The first organized movement against the employment of convict labor was made in a convention of mechanics in Utica, N. Y., in 1834. In 1845 the first industrial congress had a meeting in New York. From that time the progress of the labor movement, although at first imperceptibly slow, was assured. In 1869 a secret association of workingmen, known as the Knights of labor (q. v.), was organized at Philadelphia. Within a few years this association had its branches in every State of the Union, and enrolled many thousands of members. Many efforts were made at different times to effect a political organization of workingmen, but owing to dissensions and differences of opinion among those engaged in these movements, very little was accomplished save indirectly through the influence brought to bear upon the great political parties already in power. In 1888 a department of labor was created by act of Congress, with headquarters in Washington, D. C. This department is under the control of a commissioner of labor, whose duty it is “to acquire and diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with labor, in the most general and comprehensive sense of that word, and especially upon its relation to capital; the hours of labor; the earnings of laboring men and women; and the means of promoting their material, social, intellectual, and moral prosperity.” He is also especially charged, in accordance with the general design and duties prescribed by the law, “at as early a date as possible, and whenever industrial changes shall make in essential, to ascertain the cost of produc ing articles, at the time dutiable in the United States, in leading countries where such articles are produced, by fully specified units of production, and under a classification showing the different elements of cost of such articles of production, including wages paid in such industries,” etc. Besides the national Department of Labor, there are bureaus of statistics and labor in nearly all of the States, the principal objects of which are to collect and disseminate information on all matters of practical interest and value both to employers and employed. In 1886 most of the trades-unions in the United States, through their representatives in a convention at Columbus, O., united in a national organization called the American Federation of Labor. In 1900 this organization comprised 1,017 local unions, with a total membership of 850,000, and embraced more than seventy different trades.
Labor legislation.The following States have adopted laws prohibiting boycotting in terms: Colorado, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The States and Territories having laws prohibiting blacklisting in terms are Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The following States and Territories have laws which may be fairly construed as prohibiting boycotting: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon,  South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The following States and Territories have laws which may be fairly construed as prohibiting blacklisting: Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. In the following States it is unlawful for any employer to exact an agreement either written or verbal, from an employe not to join or become a member of any labor organization, as a condition of employment: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The following is a summary of the laws of those States that have adopted the eight-hour work-limit:
State, or for any political subdivision thereof, whether the work is to be done by contract or otherwise, is limited and restricted to eight hours in any one calendar day, and a stipulation that no workman, laborer, or mechanic in the employ of the contractor or sub-contractor shall be required or permitted to work more than eight hours in any one calendar day, except in cases of extraordinary emergency, shall be contained in every contract to which the State or any political sub-division thereof is a party. In the case of drivers, conductors, and gripmen of street-cars for the carriage of passengers, a day's work consists of twelve hours. Employment of minor children for more than eight hours per day is absolutely prohibited, except in vinicultural or horticultural pursuits, or in domestic or household occupations.
State, or any county, township, school district, municipality, or incorporated town.
District of Columbia.Eight hours constitute a day's work for all laborers or mechanics employed by or on behalf of the District of Columbia.
State or any county, city, township, or other municipality.
281] relieving another employe in case of sickness or other unforeseen cause.
New York.Eight hours constitute a day's work for all classes of employes except in farm or domestic labor. Overwork for extra pay is permitted, except upon work by or for the State or a municipal corporation, or by contractors or subcontractors therewith. The law applies to those employed by the State or municipality, or by persons contracting for State work, and each contract to which the State or a municipal corporation is a party shall contain a stipulation that no workman, laborer, or mechanic in the employ of the contractor, sub-contractor, etc., shall be permitted or required to work more than eight hours in any one calendar day, except in cases of extraordinary emergency.
Ohio.Eight hours shall constitute a day's work in all engagements to labor in any mechanical, manufacturing, or mining business, unless otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract. But in case of conductors, engineers, firemen, or trainmen of railroads, a day's work consists of ten hours.
State: also for all mechanics, workmen, and laborers in the employ of the State, or of any municipal corporation therein, or otherwise engaged on public works; this shall be deemed to apply to mechanics, workingmen, or laborers in the employ of persons contracting with the State or any municipal corporation therein, for the performance of public work.
Utah.Eight hours constitute a day's. work upon all public works and in all underground mines or workings, smelters, and all other institutions for the reduction or refining of ores.
State, county, or municipality. In cases of extraordinary emergency, overtime may be worked for extra pay.