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MaSSachusetts AFL-CIO 

Labor History SCholarship Program

THe labor movement

has never been more


And that's exactly why unions across Massachusetts have awarded over $10 million in scholarships to students since 2000. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and unions across the commonwealth are dedicated to teaching the next generation of trade unionists to build a bright future for the working class. Part of envisioning our future is learning about our rich history. For students taking the labor history exam, you are not just learning about the history of unions and groups of people who wanted to make more money. You are learning the history of working people, just like you and your families, who fight for equality and to end oppression. As you engage with these resources, remember that you will inevitably be part of this story, too, and it's up to you which role you will play. 


In 1903, Mary Kenney founded the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) at Boston's Faneuil Hall. Kenney organized women in manufacturing; as a leader of the Bookbinders Union she was the first woman appointed by Samuel Gompers as a national AFL organizer. WTUL fought for women's rights to a living wage and safe working conditions.

Our Mission

This website is intended to help you learn and reinforce the knowledge you will gain in the labor history study guide. Everybody learns differently, and there is certainly quite a bit of information to learn for the exam, but if you do a little bit everyday you will be on your way to winning a scholarship! And maybe one day you will be a labor historian. Okay, maybe not, but you will at least feel a little smarter and know more of the rich history of the labor movement. 

Information on this website that is supplementary (which you will not be specifically tested on) will be marked as such. 

also check out

Apprenticeship: The other four-year degree

The union construction industry is dedicated to having the best trained and most highly qualified craftspeople in the industry. Training is a full-time commitment by our unions and contractors, funded to the tune of over $ $48 million annually.

This investment in training helps raise standards throughout the construction industry, increases job site safety, and ensures that our work product continues to be the best in the world. Union contractors benefit because they are able to recruit high quality craftspeople. Project owners benefit because highly trained workers get the job done right the first time.

Union apprentices spend two to five years in the classroom and on-the-job training.

Challenging apprenticeship programs instill integrity, work ethic and pride in each and every union craftsperson. And, many apprentice programs offer college credit.

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