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coalition of American unions

rganized labor prior to 1900

The history of labor disputes in America substantially precedes the Revolutionary period. In 1636, for instance, there was a fishermen’s strike on an island off the coast of Maine and in 1677 twelve carmen were fined for going on strike in New York City.[7] However, most instances of labor unrest during the colonial period were temporary and isolated, and rarely resulted in the formation of permanent groups of laborers for negotiation purposes. Little legal recourse was available to those injured by the unrest, because strikes were not typically considered illegal. The only known case of criminal prosecution of workers in the colonial era occurred as a result of a carpenters’ strike in Savannah, Georgia, in 1746.[7]