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Trade Unions

A union is a collective organization aimed at defending the interests of its members. Trade unions defend mainly employment interests, but often economic and social interests as well. In Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, trade union activity was first tolerated, then legalized in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the United States, the right to form trade unions was recognized in 1842, but it could not be truly exercised until the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 151–169 (2000). Trade unions developed later in Africa, Asia, and South America.

The relationship between trade unionism and political forces is complex. In France, trade union involvement in politics is prohibited by the Law of March 21, 1884, even though part of ...

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