Jim Larkin: A Trade Union Gem
From the very beginning, young dockworker Larkin seems to be particularly gifted with helping to inspire workers to fight for what they believed in. One thing that set him apart from his peers was his genuine belief that the Irish located in Liverpool were in desperate need of representation.
He felt as though there were no Irish-based movements operating within the system, and eventually felt as though the concept of labor should be an international one. In order to facilitate this desire, he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, or ITGWU.
These organizations were purported to be a strong representation of the Irish-Ireland movement, something that Larkin felt would help support this destitute population. He immediately began working on a union that would incorporate many workers, or what he desired to be one all-encompassing union. Read more: James Larkin – Wikipedia and James Larkin | Biography
His union did well and grew exponentially from 5000 individuals to more than 15000. This allowed him to hold a lot of sway in his community and fight for better situations. One of his biggest successes was the Dublin Lockout. This allowed him to campaign for the rights of more than 100,000 workers for over seven months. The union won what they were looking for and James returned to his organization victorious.
After this victory, he felt as though he wanted to become more of a public speaker. His time in America, however, was not well served. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/
He ended up being charged with a crime, for which he was pardoned eventually. He came back to Ireland with the hopes of reentering the labor union circuit. It turns out that his specific set of skills would continue to be an asset to many organizations throughout the country as he offered many instances of consulting and other types of organization.
For Jim Larkin it was not possible for him to go back to ITGWU, the party chose to split when he came back instead of forming underneath of him. Instead, he would go on to help organize the Workers’ Union of Ireland, another union centered around the prospect of one large union for everyone.
His work continued, and he became passionate in his later years. It is said that as he aged in a way that helped mellow out some of the zeal that he had been well known for in his youth. While he did of a sudden accident, he had been warning his peers of his impending death for many years.