Frank Tannenbaum

Frank Tannenbaum was born on 4th March 1893 in Austria. He was a historian, sociologist, and a criminologist. He was a history professor at Columbia university. He saw the trade union movement as the labourers reaction against the dominance of the machines in the modern industrial society. He felt that the machine degraded the worker and made him insecure and so the trade union movement aims at control over the machine so as to overcome insecurity. His theory of trade unionism came into light in his philosophy of labour in 1921. He felt that the workers are engaging in an unconcious rebellion against the atomization of the industrial society. According to Frank Tannenbaum “ the original organiser of the trade union movement is the shop,the factory, the mine and the industry the agitator or the labour leader merely announces the already existing fact.” He also said that the emergence of the unionism is spontaneous and that it also reflects the urge of human beings to create a society.

When many criticized that the unions do not use their power to create a socialistic or a communistic state Frank Tannenbaum was totally against this and said that the unions could not afford to create a socialistic or a communistic state because every activity of the management affects the well being of the workers. He believed that the main reason for the success of the trade unions is its concentration on immediate problems. Frank Tannenbaum said that the trade unionism is not purely based on the economy and their demands of the workers and also that it has social and ethical values to it. It strives to reestablish the dignity of truly believed that trade unionism gives back to the worker his society where he can live with security, justice freedom and faith. This stresses the fact that union gives the worker a value system and fellowship that he can share with others who are like him. Thus Frank Tannenbaum’s theory is one of the most important and influential theories of the trade unionism.