Jim Larkin is an Union leader as well as social activist. Larkin spent most of his life in Liverpool England and the Republic of Ireland. Jim Larkin was poorly educated however he became a full time Union organizer in the early 1900’s.
Jim Larkin created the Irish Transport as well as the General Workers Union. Larkin gained considerable notoriety due to his involvement in the “Dublin Lockout”. The “Dublin Lockout” occurred in 1913.
Larkin always had an interest in politics as well as issues related to Socialism. He became a member of the Independent party through his own efforts in the early 1900’s. Larkin was an advocate of going on “strike” and picketing in order to resolve wage issues and equal and fair treatment.
Larkin’s repeated efforts and sometimes controversial beliefs attracted the attention National Union of Dock Laborers. For a period of time, Jim Larkin was an organizer of the National Union of Dock Laborers.
Jim Larkin was eventually offered a full time and permanent position with the National Union of Dock Laborers. Larkin did an excellent job of keeping workers organized as well as focused. Larkin took his position with the NUDL quite seriously.
Larkin was quite vocal when he expressed his opposition to Immigration especially that of the Chinese. He considered Immigration a huge threat to union workers and he openly expressed his opinions regarding the matter.
In 1907, Larkin assumed the responsibility of attempting to organize city dock workers in Ireland. Unfortunately, when wage and salary agreements were not met Larkin encouraged workers to strike.
Larkin seemed to send such a powerful message concerning “Workers Rights”. Jim Larkin with little effort succeeded in uniting Protestant and Catholic union workers. By 1910, Larkin was able to organize workers in Dublin and Cork Ireland. Even though Larkin was poorly educated, when it came to union matters he was an expert.
Jim Larkin eventually founded the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. The organization is still in existence today however the name has been changed several times over the years.
Jim Larkin always had an interest in current news stories. Therefore, by 1912 he founded the “Irish Workers and Peoples Advocate” Newspaper. Establishing his own newspaper was a major accomplishment especially since he had little reading and writing ability.
The “Irish Workers and Peoples Advocate” Newspaper was devoted to publishing current news stories concerning “Unfair Labor Practices” and “Wage and Salary Adjustment” issues. It seemed quite obvious that good workers were grossly underpaid for their long hours. Larkin felt exposing these injustices would eventually bring about change.
With the assistance of James Connelly, Jim Larkin formed the Irish Labor Party. One of Jim Larkin’s ultimate goals was to unionize unskilled workers.
By this time Larkins staff was well paid due Larkin previously expressing his views about equal pay and fair treatment. Benefit packages were also being created as an additional incentive for workers.
Larkin was responsible for creating a “workers pledge”. All workers were required to sign this pledge as well as abide by the regulations stated within the document. Any workers refusing to sign the “workers pledge” was eventually locked out of the organization.
The lock out of some employees did cause unrest and financial hardships. However, Larkin also created a dispute and resolution act which helped any workers that were “locked out” gain willful employment once again.
Jim Larkin did travel to the United States and was able to secure work as a union leader organizer for a short period of time. The United States was interested in some of Larkin’s theories and ideas regarding union reform.
However, Larkin made the decision to return to Ireland and continue his work as a well respected union leader/organizer. Larkin died in 1947 after a brief illness. Jim Larkin left quite a legacy behind and he will always be remembered.