A Timeline of American Employee Rights

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The First National Labor Organization in America

Though it lived for just seven years starting in 1866, the National Labor Movement paved the way for future labor parties. Led by William H. Sylvis, who headed the Iron-Molders' International Union, the movement tried to organize local trade unions under a national umbrella. They were also among the first advocates of the eight-hour workday. But the political organization fell apart when it couldn’t perform at the polls, and many of its members left for the Knights of Labor.