1914: The Clayton Act
In September of 1914, President Woodrow Wilson addressed the Teamsters Convention. This event was a major milestone for Tobin and the Teamsters. The union was now a key player in the political realm and a powerful force in the labor movement. Although a frequent critic of the president during his first two years in the White House, Wilson graciously thanked Tobin for his role in the 1912 campaign and pledged his support for workers’ rights.
Wilson delivered on his promise with passage of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act on October 15, 1914. The Clayton Act declared that unions were not unlawful under the Sherman Anti-Trust provisions, and workers compensation bills were passed in most states. Union contracts also resulted in shorter days, giving workers some “leisure hours” often for the first time in their lives.
Organized labor was heartened by the passage of the Clayton Antitrust Act, a major win for the millions of American union members. The act continued to benefit workers in later years, serving as the basis for a great many important pieces of pro-labor legislation against large corporations.