The bitter struggles between workers and employers continued in 1912, the year of the Lawrence strike.  All over America workers engaged in a struggle with their employers (who were often supported by governmental authorities) to win better working conditions. Often, these workers formed and joined labor unions so that they could be represented collectively in the workplace. In general, labor unions during this period fought for higher wages, shorter hours, safer working conditions, regulation of women and child labor, and workmen’s compensation. Some labor unions went farther and demanded worker ownership of the factory. All unions believed that workers should have a greater voice in bargaining over these important issues of employment.

In the early twentieth century, organized labor was dominated by two major labor unions, the American Federation of Labor, and the Industrial Workers of the World (which led the Lawrence Strike of 1912.)