The trade union legend, Jim Larkin is now seen as one of the most important members of the trade union movement s his manifesto for the launch of the Irish Labour Party includes many of the rights workers now claim automatically in the 21st-century.
Despite the success he achieved as a trade union organizer and the leader of a newly established political party, Jim Larkin was once almost scrubbed from the annals of history because of a misunderstanding of his goals by a group of Irish newspaper owners.
Jim Larkin had already found himself a target for retribution from his own trade union leaders in his home city of Liverpool who did not appreciate his work as an organizer for the National Dock Laborers Union in 1905 and 1906.
By 1907, the trade union movement in England had effectively banished Larkin to the docks of Dublin where a low percentage of workers were members of any union; the low percentage of workers involved in union activities was seen as a challenge by Larkin as he set out to build a new union from the ground up, the Irish Transport and General Workers Union.
Despite his best efforts, Larkin struggled to find a clear path for the union to take before the 1913 Dublin Lockout which saw an eight-month strike by more than 100,000 workers drew attention to the work of the Liverpool-born union leader. Read more: Jim Larkin | Wikipedia and Jim Larkin | Biography
Unlike many of his fellow socialists in the trade union movement, Jim Larkin understood the economic aspects of the decisions his union made; a good example of this was the refusal of Larkin to use violence to intimidate strikebreakers as he wished to ensure all businesses remained open during strikes to make sure all union members had jobs to return to after a strike was completed.
Jim Larkin’s place in history alongside his fellow Irish Labour Party founder, James Connolly seemed to have been lost when he arrived in the U.S. in 1914 and was not present at the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland.
Connolly’s death made him a martyr of the freedom movement but Larkin’s work to create a better working framework for Irish workers would eventually see him applauded by scholars and political experts alike.
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