The labor movement in the U.S. grew out of the need to protect the interests of workers. Work was hell, so some badasses in the industrial sector organized labor unions and fought for better wages, safer working conditions, and reasonable hours.
Efforts of the movement led to the ending of child labor, the granting of health benefits, and aid to workers who were injured or retired.
Strikes happened all over, but the earliest recorded one happened in 1798 when New York journeymen tailors protested a wage reduction.
And because of them, we have it pretty sweet. Here's 37 reasons to thank the labor movement.
Weekends without work
All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Civil Rights Act/Title VII - prohibits employer discrimination
8-hour work day
Child labor laws
Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
40-hour work week
Workers' compensation (workers' comp)
Workplace safety standards and regulations
Employer health care insurance
Collective bargaining rights for employees
Wrongful termination laws
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
Whistleblower protection laws
Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) - prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
Veteran's Employment and Training Services (VETS)
Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
Sexual harassment laws
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
Pregnancy and parental leave
The right to strike
Public education for children
Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 - requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
Laws ending sweatshops in the United States