Jim Larkin: Irish Labor Organizer

He was called “Big Jim”, because he stood up for marginalized workers everywhere in Ireland. He was an Irish labor organizer and he was the founder of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Jim Larkin is also one of the first individuals to popularize the phrase, “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.”

Although James Larkin had little formal education, he grew up in the Liverpool slums and worked a number of manual jobs as a youngster in order to supplement the income of his family.

He eventually became a dockworker and later became a foreman on the Liverpool docks. In 1905, he joined the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL) and became a trade organizer at the same time.

Over the following years, Larkin would become increasingly vocal when advocating for the workers in Ireland and in the Liverpool area. He never compromised his ideals, even though they were some in NUDL who desired him to tone it down somewhat.

In 1907, many members of the trade union had had enough of Jim Larkin, so they banned him from the group. This is when he founded his Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU). Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm and http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html

Besides all that, Larkin was responsible for leading many important demonstrations, including the 1913 Lockout in Dublin. Unfortunately, the ITGWU would basically cease to exist after this occurred, and Larkin decided to come to America after that.

He was attempting to raise funds in order to fight the British, but unfortunately he was charged with anarchy and communism in 1920. After he was pardoned in 1923, he was deported back to Ireland.

Even though he had his share of setbacks, he wasn’t done with championing workers rights in Ireland. In 1924, he organized the Workers’ Union of Ireland.

He remained committed to the rights of the working man throughout his life until he passed away in 1947. You would be hard pressed to find a better advocate than James Larkin if you were a working man in Ireland.

Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia

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