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The first recorded strike in the US occurred in 1768 when a group of NY tailors demanded higher wages. From the 1800s, unions proliferated as the demands of the Industrial Revolution forced workers to seek protections. Membership began to flourish during the Great Depression as President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to strengthen unions, and by the end of WWII more than 12 million workers were unionized.
Significant pushback against unions began in the 1970s in an increasing environment of deregulation, monopolies, competitive pressures, and a wave of foreign goods entering the country. Many saw unions as counter-competitive, and with the election of Ronald Reagan anti-union policies took center stage. Between 1975 to 1985, union membership fell dramatically. By the end of the 1980s, less than 17 percent of American workers were unionized, which was half the amount of the 1950s.
Sandroff, R. (2022, September 1). The history of unions in the United States. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0113/the-history-of-unions-i... HISTORY.com. (2020, September 1). Labor movement. https://www.history.com/topics/19th-century/labor