A Labor Day Look At Labor Union Violence

Something usually  not discussed on Labor Day weekend is the violence and thuggery which has always been part of the union movement. And it still happens. One recent report counts almost 8,800 acts of union violence between 1975 and 2011. Union leader demagoguery is a big reason for the violence. The history of the labor movement is littered with extremists who used violence to get their way.

At the beginning of the union movement the violence was outer directed; toward the government, management, or the police who were using violence themselves to destroy the labor movement. As the movement matured the violence became directed inward, targeted towards keeping the rank and file “in line,” going after replacement workers, or sabotaging the particular company under siege. Just like the fictional Johnny Friendly bullied Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) in “On The Waterfront”  real live union bosses ruled with an iron fist.

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