Jim Larkin is probably one of the most influential labor activists that have existed in the modern times. He founded the Irish activist and general workers union. James was Born on January 21, 1876 in Liverpool.
He grew up in the slums of Liverpool and had very little formal education. He worked a number of jobs when he was a young man, in an attempt to supplement his family’s income. James Larkin was a socialist, and he believed that employees were being treated very unfairly.
James worked these menial jobs till he got an opportunity to work at the Liverpool docks. His experience with people being treated unfairly at the docks made him joined the national union of the Liverpool dock workers.
He became a full-time trade union organizer. He employed militant strike methods which his bosses at the dock found very alarming. They decided to transfer him to Dublin. Here, he started the Irish transport and general workers union. He had the vision of combining all Irish workers both skilled and unskilled into one union.
He was responsible for leading a number of strikes in his quest to get fair and equal treatment for all workers. One of the longest strikes that he organized was the 1913 Dublin Lockout, where more than a hundred thousand workers went on strike for more than eight months. By the end of the strike, he was able to achieve the right to fair employment for all local employees. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Ireland Calling
When the First World War started, he staged demonstrations against it in Dublin. He travelled to the US with the intention of raising funds to help him fight the British. He was convicted of criminal anarchy in 1920 but was pardoned three years later.
When he left prison, he was able to organize the workers union of Ireland, which would later receive recognition from Communist International. James was married to Elizabeth, and they had four sons together.
James was believed to be a very strict leader and many are the times when people claimed he was a tough boss to work with. He lived frugally and worried about money a lot. Perhaps this was because he needed a lot of resources to coordinate all the massive projects that he used to manage.
Jim Larkin was a moralist and he believed in doing what was right regardless of the situation. He is a legacy of strong leadership and relentlessly following one’s goals and dreams to a logical end.