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The Pit - When the Union Began

Employee rights have come a long, long way and advanced quite considerably in a little more than a century’s worth of time. From acceptable wages to compensation after being hurt on the job, workers today have it considerably better than those of decades past. Regardless of how people feel about worker unions today, they played a major role in the improvements enjoyed today, and no other union is more widely-recognized as having an impact than The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and their historic “Pit.”

On May 5th, 1888, more than 125 years ago, a small group of Atlanta-based locomotive repair workers met in a repair pit to discuss how they could rally together and unify to get better treatment while on-the-job. This meeting became known as “The Pit” and would found the United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers of America – now renamed to IAM. It was a landmark moment in worker rights not only here in America but also across the world.

Starting with just 19 people, the IAM expanded exponentially in one year, gaining 1,500 members and 34 lodges around the state. It seemed that people were keen to the idea of the eight-hour workday, set wages, and compensatory benefits. More than just railroad engineers got involved, too; the IAM quickly included shipbuilders, woodworkers, manufacturers, and more professionals. Cut to modern day and the IAM still represents and fights for the rights of over 700,000 people, both actively working and retired from a lifetime of honest work.

As New York City personal injury attorneys with a focus on workplace construction accidents, our team here at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP has seen a great many cases that would have been more difficult to win for our clients had the IAM and other unions like it not been around to help shape laws and regulations throughout the years. To pay the IAM due respects, we found it only fitting to take a quick look back at its history, and also continue to provide legal advocacy to hard-working Americans who have been injured in industrial fields.

If you have been hurt and need representation for your workers’ compensation case, call 646.461.4009 today to request a free case evaluation with our team.

Categories: Workers' Compensation