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# Founded at the dawn of the modern industrial era, the nearly forgotten

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Senior RC Moderator
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Founded at the dawn of the modern industrial era, the nearly forgotten  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 08 Oct 2019, 02:35
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 51, Date : 26-FEB-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

Founded at the dawn of the modern industrial era, the nearly forgotten Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) played an instrumental role Line in advancing the cause of working women throughout the early part of the twentieth century. In the face of considerable adversity, the WTUL made a contribution far greater than did most historical footnotes.

The organization's successes did not come easily; conflict beset the WTUL in many forms. During those early days of American unions, organized labor was aggressively opposed by both industry and government. The WTUL, which represented a largely unskilled labor force, had little leverage against these powerful opponents. Also, because of the skill level of its workers as well as inherent societal gender bias, the WTUL had great difficulty finding allies among other unions. Even the large and powerful American Federation of Labor (AFL), which nominally took the WTUL under its wing, kept it at a distance. Because the AFI2s power stemmed from its highly skilled labor force, the organization saw little economic benefit in working with the WTUL. The affiliation provided the AFL with political cover, allowing it to claim support for women workers; in return, the WTUL gained a potent but largely absent ally.

The WTUL also had to overcome internal discord. While the majority of the group's members were working women, a sizeable and powerful minority consisted of middle- and upper-class social reformers whose goals extended beyond labor reform. While workers argued that the WTUL should focus its efforts on collective bargaining and working conditions, the reformers looked beyond the workplace, seeking state and national legislation aimed at education reform and urban poverty relief as well as workplace issues. Despite these obstacles, the WTUL accomplished a great deal. The organization was instrumental in the passage of state laws mandating an eight-hour workday, a minimum wage for women, and a ban on child labor. It provided seed money to women who organized workers in specific plants and industries, and it also established strike funds and soup kitchens to support striking unionists. After the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire of 1911, the WTUL launched a four-year investigation whose conclusions formed the basis of much subsequent workplace safety legislation. The organization also offered a political base for all reform-minded women, and thus helped develop the next generation of American leaders. Eleanor Roosevelt was one of many prominent figures to emerge from the WTUL.

The organization began a slow death in the late 1920s, when the Great Depression choked (60) off its funding. The organization limped through the 1940s; the death knell eventually rang in 1950, at the onset of the McCarthy era. A turn-of-the-century labor organization dedicated to social reform, one that during its heyday was regarded by many as "radical," stood little chance of weathering that storm. This humble ending, however, does nothing to diminish the accomplishments of an organization that is yet to receive its historical due.
1. The primary purpose of this passage is to

A. describe the barriers confronting women in the contemporary workplace
B. compare and contrast the methods of two labor unions of the early industrial era
C. critique the methods employed by an important labor union
D. rebuke historians for failing to cover the women’s labor movement adequately
E. call readers’ attention to an overlooked contributor to American history

2. Which of the following best characterizes the American Federation of Labor’s view of the Women’s Trade Union League, as it is presented in the passage?

A. The WTUL was an important component of the AFL’s multifront assault on industry and its treatment of workers.
B. Because of Eleanor Roosevelt’s affiliation with the organization, the WTUL was a vehicle through which the AFL could gain access to the White House.
C. The WTUL was to be avoided because the radical element within it attracted unwanted government scrutiny.
D. The WTUL offered the AFL some political capital but little that would assist it in labor negotiations.
E. The WTUL was weakened by its hesitance in pursuing widespread social reform beyond the workplace.

3. Each of the following is cited in the passage as an accomplishment of the Women’s Trade Union League EXCEPT

A. it organized a highly skilled workforce to increase its bargaining power
B. it contributed to the development of a group of leaders in America
C. it provided essential support to striking women
D. it helped fund start-up unions for women
E. it contributed to the passage of important social and labor reform legislation

4. The passage suggests which of the following about the “middle- and upper-class social reformers” (Highlighted) ?

A. They did not understand, nor were they sympathetic to, the plight of poor women workers.
B. Their naive interest in Communism was ultimately detrimental to the Women’s Trade Union League.
C. It was because of their social and political power that the Women’s Trade Union League was able to form an alliance with the American Federation of Labor.
D. They represented only an insignificant fraction of the leadership of Women’s Trade Union League.
E. They sought to advance a broad political agenda of societal improvement.

_________________

Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 08 Oct 2019, 02:35, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (848).
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Re: Founded at the dawn of the modern industrial era, the nearly forgotten  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2019, 12:51
2
Q1-
Answer is E as from first paragraph'In the face of considerable adversity, the WTUL made a contribution far greater than did most historical footnotes.'

Q2-
Answer is D as per second paragraph 'The affiliation provided the AFL with political cover, allowing it to claim support for women workers'

Q3-
Answer is A since the WTUL represented a largely unskilled labor force (2nd paragraph)

Q4-
E is clearly the correct choice as per third paragraph
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GMAT:710 (Q49,V38,IR8,AWA5)
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Joined: 02 Nov 2016
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Re: Founded at the dawn of the modern industrial era, the nearly forgotten  [#permalink]

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18 Mar 2019, 09:40
1
+1 Kudos to posts containing answer explanation of all questions
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Re: Founded at the dawn of the modern industrial era, the nearly forgotten   [#permalink] 18 Mar 2019, 09:40
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