A Celebration of Groundbreaking Labor Activitst Jim Larkin
Working in the 19th century was a brutal endeavor where long hours were rewarded with a small salary that kept many hardworking people in poverty. Thanks to the actions and sacrifice of one man, today millions of people are able to enjoy a living wage and safer working conditions. That man, Jim Larkin, is the model by which today’s labor activists use to help working people earn a better life.
Jim Larkin was born on January 28, 1874, in Liverpool, England. Labor laws, at the time of the late 19th century, were seemingly non-existent. Children could work long hours and barely have enough to feed themselves by the end of the day.
Man and women worked in dangerous conditions that often lead to injury or, in some cases, death. Mr. Larkin began his carer as a laborer and later a foreman. In these jobs, Mr. Larkin would have first-hand experience in the horrid conditions of the average laborer.
As a socialist and labor activists, Mr. Larkin joined the National Union of Dock Labourers and later became a full-time trade union organizer in Liverpool. Jim Larkin’s approach was to launch full-scale strikes.
At the time, union leaders thought that Mr. Larkin’s methods were too extreme and transferred him to Dublin. The union bosses thought that this would mute Jim Larkin’s activities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In 1907, Jim Larkin arrived in Dublin and quickly created the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. From there, Mr. Larkin realized his goal of uniting all Irish workers and created the Irish Labour Party. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html
This organization of all Irish laborers leads to the 1913 Dublin lockout which involved over 100,000 workers. The strike went on for eight months eventually leading to the workers winning the right to fair employment.
Today Jim Larkin is known as one of the heroes of workers around the world. Everyone who has ever worked for an employer owes a debt to this Liverpool laborer who made great sacrifices on behalf of workers around the world.