Jim Larkin; the figure behind the modern labor unions in Ireland

The modern labor movement came to life in the 1900s when Jim Larkin founded ITGWU. At this time, less than 10 percent of workers in Ireland belonged to a labor union. The movements that were there at the time fought for political causes and neglected the ailing workforce.

The few labor unions that existed at the time were British-based and never fought for Ireland’s workforce. As a result, activists in Dublin felt left out by the British based unions and decided to form their own workers’ unions.

They formed the National Union of Dock Laborers with the main aim of fighting for equal rights and fair treatment of the workers by the employees. Jim Larkin was an official at the NUDL, and he actively advocated for the labor union to be international. In 1906, the labor union successfully organized workers strike and the penetrated into Ireland the following year.

Upon their arrival in Belfast, the union organized another strike that would see their members receive better treatment and better pay from their employees. The strike was going on well until NUDL officials decided to go behind Jim’s back to sign a deal with the business owners.

He was infuriated by this action and decided to form another labor movement where he would be the leader. He named the new labor union as Irish Transport & General Workers Union (ITGWU).

Jim Larkin strongly identified the new movement with the Irish-Ireland Movement. He went ahead to make republicanism a force in the union. Jim was determined to make ITGWU an industrial Unionism where he could accommodate all workers from different sectors.

In mid 1911, Jim Larkin’s leadership at ITGWU faced a lot of challenges. Initially, he found it hard to trust to trust other union officials especially after he was betrayed by other officials at NUDL. Some of the officials found it difficult to work with him and therefore faced some resistance from the officials of the movement.

At this time, Jim Larkin needed money to fund the operations of the ITGWU, but it wasn’t forthcoming. Rather than engaging in expensive strikes, Jim decided to use another route to achieve his mission. He established the ITGWU headquarters at Liberty Hall that was a social center and a cultural powerhouse. He then founded the crusading paper dubbed the Irish worker that he would use to spread his message to the world.

The Irish Worker was a phenomenal success, and it showcased Jim Larkin’s skills as a talented editor. In the same year, there was the ‘Great labor Unrest’ that originated from Britain and spread to Ireland.

ITGWU was engulfed in the conflict, and Jim Larkin swung into action. ITGWU membership grew from about five thousand to fifteen thousand in just a few weeks. ITGWU made significant moves that made the Congress aestablish the Labor Party.

ITGWU’s glory came to a sudden halt in the 1913 lockout. Jim Larkin wanted to expand ITGWU’s scope to include other employment sectors such as the Dublin trams. William Martin Murphy, a conservative opposed the idea and decided to fight Jim’s proposition.

A war between 404 employers and more than 20000 employees began that lasted close to one year. This brought Jim Larkin into the international limelight where he was recognized as a labor champion.

A Closer Look at Betsy DeVos’ Massive Contributions to Educational Causes and other Philanthropic Programs

Betsy DeVos and her husband political donations have received a lot of media attention in the recent years. However, these grants are not much compared to their lifetime philanthropic donations that amount to $139 million. She currently serves as the U.S. Education Secretary.


Betsy DeVos’ role in philanthropy


Betsy DeVos charitable donations became public when she was being vetted for the office of the United States Education Secretary. This professional has been on the forefront in supporting education reforms and funding charities that seek to help children acquire access to better learning facilities. Betsy DeVos hails from West Michigan where she currently lives with her family. 2015 marks the year that she supported numerous causes. Betsy DeVos and her husband donated $11.6 million, which was allocated to various charities. The DeVos’ Family Foundation is the organization that awards funds to non-profit agencies on behalf of this couple. Betsy and her husband have been key players in the Republican politics. Their family’s involvement with this party goes back a couple of decades ago. DeVos’ dad and the founder of Amway Corporation is the backbone of the DeVos’ charitable giving. This family was named position 24th among America’s top givers by the Forbes Magazine. According to the DeVos, their lifetime donations amount to $1.33 billion, which is a quarter of their wealth. Betsy DeVos’ side of the family has also been instrumental in donating to the less fortunate. Her father Edgar Prince was a renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist.


Education has always been the top priority for Betsy. In 2015, she made sure that this docket was given a quarter of the total donation. She also awarded $357,000 to various organizations that share her sentiment when it comes to academic reforms. Betsy’s love for education comes from her desire of ensuring equality in the education system. She believes that all children, rich or poor, require access to better schools. This conviction has seen her co-establish learning facilities such as the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This school offers aviation studies to students, and it has provided licenses to more than 15 pilots ever since it was set up. Betsy also supports other core issues such as arts and culture. For years, she has continued to fund this cause with the aim of nurturing talents. She also donates to health centers such as the Helen DeVos’ Children’s Hospital, a clinic that cares for children with brain cancer.


Betsy DeVos helps the society without expecting anything in return. Her greatest joy is to see the results of the programs she helped set up. This aspect is what makes Betsy DeVos unique. According to Betsy, she has been able to finance these philanthropic causes due to the support she gets from her husband.


To learn more, visit http://www.betsydevos.com/.