Recognition of Labour Unions 1842
Commonwealth v. Hunt, Lemuel Shaw (1781–1861)
Prior to and after the Revolution, the class of skilled laborers known as artisans, craftsmen, and mechanics existed in America. These employees worked inside a “guild system,” which was a framework that mirrored their demands and social order.
Labour unions encountered several obstacles in their quest for recognition to organize employees, and it wasn’t until the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided in Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842) that they gained traction in the United States. It was not unlawful to organize a trade union, nor was it criminal to insist that businesses recruit exclusively union members, according to Commonwealth v. Hunt.