Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
School of Education
James W. Davis
Ronald G. Riggs
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For over two hundred years organized labor has participated in the political activity of the United States. In the following statement, Professor Lloyd G. Reynolds of Yale expressed his opinion on organized labor's long history in political action. He stated:
"It is often debated whether unions should 'go into Politics,' really, they have no choice in the matter. The are automatically in politics because they exist under a legal and political system which has been generally critical of union activities. The conspiracy suit and the injunction judge have been a problem for unions from the earliest times. A minimum of political activity is essential in order that unions may be able to engage in collective bargaining on even terms."
The type of labor political activity and the methods employed have varied from period to period. With a little study, however, it was possible to detect a constant evolution of labor political philosophy.
At the present time labor political philosophy has been best expressed in the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations' Committee on Political Education. This Committee has represented a philosophy which was born out of many years of trial and experience.
The problem discussed in this study has been concerned with the development and effectiveness of the Committee on Political Education.
Statement of the Problem. The purpose of this paper was to study the historical development of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations' Committee on Political Education and to assess its effectiveness as an interest group in the United States political sphere.
Although the Committee on Political Education was a product of the mid-twentieth century, labor union political activity in the United States can be traced back to the eighteenth century. Much of the Committee on Political Education's philosophy of political activity has been developed over a number of years, and an effort will be made to trace the various aspects which have influenced labor's political endeavors. The growth of union political activity, therefore, is deserving of as much attention as the present status of the Committee on Political Education.
Interest groups can use pressure in various ways in order to influence and win the support of the American people. Labor, being one of the primary interest groups, can and does exert its influence in many ways.
In summary, then, an effort was made to trace the development of labor union political activity as it evolved from the past into its present-day organization, the Committee on Political Education; and to assess the Committee's political effectiveness.
Grachek, Arthur F., "A Historical Study of the Development of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations' Committee on Political Education and an Assessment of Its Political Effectiveness" (1964). Culminating Projects in Teacher Development. 2.