Workplace militancy had also manifested itself as Luddism and had been prominent in struggles such as the 1820 Rising in Scotland, in which 60,000 workers went on a general strike, which was soon crushed.Sympathy for the plight of the workers brought repeal of the acts in 1824, although the Combination Act 1825 severely restricted their activity.Trade unions traditionally have a constitution which details the governance of their bargaining unit and also have governance at various levels of government depending on the industry that binds them legally to their negotiations and functioning.
Recent historical research by Bob James in Craft, Trade or Mystery (2001) puts forward the view that trade unions are part of a broader movement of benefit societies, which includes medieval guilds, Freemasons, Oddfellows, friendly societies, and other fraternal organizations.
The 18th century economist Adam Smith noted the imbalance in the rights of workers in regards to owners (or "masters").
Trade unions may be composed of individual workers, professionals, past workers, students, apprentices or the unemployed.
Trade union density, or the percentage of workers belonging to a trade union, is highest in the Nordic countries.
For the Canadian political party, see Union Labour. A trade union or trades union, also called a labour union (Canada) or labor union (US), is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals; such as protecting the integrity of its trade, improving safety standards, and/or attaining better pay, benefits (such as vacation, health care, and retirement), and working conditions through the increased bargaining power wielded by the creation of a monopoly of the workers.