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1830s

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Starting in the 1830s and accelerating rapidly during the Civil War, the factory system accounted for an ever-growing share of American production. It also produced great wealth for very few but grinding poverty for the masses. With workers recognizing the power of their employers, the number of local union organizations increased steadily during the mid-19th century. Born of strife and struggle, LIUNA members have been uniting for better lives since the 1836 when the first recognized Laborers union was established in Philadelphia. Hundreds of Laborers Local Unions existed across North America at the turn of the century but they were only admitted to the early AFL as "Federal Locals."

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