Define: Organized Labor

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Organized Labor


Full Definition of Organized Labor

Organized labour is the labour union movement. The origins of organized labour in the U.S. can be traced to the guilds of skilled workers in Revolutionary times. Organized labour made huge strides with the founding of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1886, and its subsequent merger with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1955. These moves to bring labour unions together eventually gave organized labour substantial political influence. Since the 1960s, however, organized labour has suffered significant setbacks. The decline in organized labour stems from the changing economy: heavy manufacturing industries, like steel and shipbuilding, which gave organized labour so many dues-paying members substantially contracted. Other reasons for the decline of organized labor include technological advance, strong opposition from management, and globalization. By the early 21st century, organized labour represented less than 10% of private-sector workers. Organized labour suffered a further setback in 2005 when two of America’s most powerful unions – SEIU and the Teamsters — resigned from the AFL-CIO. However, organized labour remained strong in the public sector, representing about 35% of all workers.


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Definition Sources

Definitions for Organized Labor are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 6th February 2020.