A global history of labor unions

The long fight for workers' rights - The first labor strike in recorded history took place in Egypt, around the 12th century BCE.

Ancient artisan's guilds -
Labor unions, as we know them today, are descendants of the guild system of the Old World.

The end of serfdom and the birth of the working class - During the Middle Ages, most peasants and peoples of the lower classes of society lived as serfs.

The 1349 Ordinance of Labourers - England's 1349 Ordinance of Labourers is considered not only the beginning of labor legislation in the British Isles, but the first labor law in the world. 

Labor disputes in the 19th century - Few eras in history have changed the course of the world more than the Industrial Revolution. 

The growth of cities -
As Europe's journey through industrialization progressed, major cities like London, Berlin, and Paris etc. grew at almost uncontrollable rates. 

The Trade-Union Act of 1871 -
After decades, or arguably centuries, of unrest and rebellion within the working class, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Trade-Union Act of 1871. 

The rise of unions in the United States - The first national labor union in the United States, although not the most enduring, was the National Labor Union (NLU). Co-founded by William H. Sylvis.

Unionization worldwide -
It was only a matter of time until the concept of unionization spread disseminated throughout working classes around the globe. 

The Industrial Workers of the World One of the largest, most successful, and most established general workers' unions is the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

General German Workers' Association - Formed in 1863 by Ferdinand Lassalle (pictured), the General German Workers' Association was the first organized labor union in all of modern European history.

International Workingmen's Association - The International Workingmen's Association, also known as the First International, was founded in 1864 in St Martin's Hall (pictured) in London.

The Irish Transport and General Workers' Union - The Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (ITGWU) was Ireland's first general labor union, dedicated to all trades and forms of labor. 

Solidarność -
Solidarność, or the Polish Solidarity Union, became the first legally recognized union in a Warsaw Treaty Organization country in 1980.

The Egyptian Trade Union Federation - The Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), formed in 1957, is an example of the dangers of state-controlled workers' unions. 

South Africa's COSATU -
The Congress of South African Trade Unions, or COSATU, is the largest of South Africa's trade federations. Formed in 1985.

Tunisia's UGTT -
The Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) was formed in 1946 and played an integral role in the 2011.

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