Guilds

liril at gmx.net liril at gmx.net
Sun Aug 13 05:28:26 EDT 2000



Mary Ann Dimand wrote:

> Well, this depends on the functions you think of as defining unions.
> Personally, I'd give you a qualified "no".

And I absolutely agree.

> To my mind, the definitive function of a union is in functioning as a
> bargaining unit-- over remuneration, work hours and conditions.

I think that's the point.

The "shutting up" of the guilds I mentioned resulted in apprentices ("Gesellen",
journeymen, my dictionary says) no longer being allowed to become independent
masters in order to keep the number of competing "businesses" low. This lead, in
some cities,  to "Gesellenaufständen"  apprentices' revolts, where apprecntices
stood against the established guilds. And I read that these were considered as
very early forms of labour disputes.

I think the comparison with the American Medical Association is good. In
Germany, every doctor (laywer etc) *has to be* a member of the association for
his/her profession. And that's just like it was with the guilds, too. (Of course
they haven't got that much influence)

Bettina

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