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Greatest Grievance of All
Updated On: Sep 16, 2019

Tom Brimm, Managing Editor,

e Kentucky Labor News, June 1981

It  would  be  the  most  famous  written GRIEVANCE in the history of man ...

It would be known forever as the DEC­LARATION  OF  INDEPENDENCE,  but it is, in  fact - a  pointed accounting of grievances of the colonists against King George III. Even  the  Magna Carta, sealed by King John at  Runnymede 750  years ago, followed a grievance of less fame than the  one we celebrate each Fourth of July!

Representatives of the 13 colonies were to  meet initially as the FIRST CONTINENTAL  CONGRESS  in

1774 at CARPENTERS' HALL.They met to form a union-the UNITED States of  America - and it was appropriate that their first meeting  would be in  the  early American union hall that had been erected in Philadelphia by the Company of Carpen­ters, a type of guild organization which had both master carpenters (often builders in their ownright) and journeyman carpenters. This forerunner of  modern  trade  unions established work standards and a common welfare fund where disabled workmen, or widows and  orphans, could get financial help ..  .

Early colonial leaders who still favored resistance to King George wanted labor's support:"Such men 
are the strength of any community and should be consulted in all government affairs."

But it would be another meeting of the Congress at Independence Hall two years laterthatwould 
adoptand sign thegrievance against the British monarch.

The "grievance  committee" was com­ posed of the following great men such as THOMAS JEFFERSON, 

SHERMAN.  86 changes were later made by the delegates and 480 words eliminated, leavin_g 1,337. Grievances should be clear and concise, stating the facts!

"He has erected a multitude of new of­ fices,  and sent  hither  swann s  of officers to harass our people,  and  eat  out of  their substance."

"He hasplundered our seas, ravished our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our 

The solution to the problem was offered, as it should be in any grievance:

"That these  United  Colonies  are,  and of  right out to  be,  free  and  independent states ...  

There  was  to  be  a  BOYCOTT -  of British goods -     by these early American heroes. Then, as now, there were "SCABS." They were called''Tories"andthey lacked the courage to stand with theirfellow man against unjust treatment.

There was VIOLENCE. The Boston Tea Party was hardly a social affair ...

The LADIES AUXILIARIES were busy! "Even in their dresses," complained a British soldier, "the 
females bid us defiance" as he noted the stripes and thirteen stars sewed into their costumes . . .

Thomas Jefferson's committee ended the grievance with words of unity too beautiful to be forgotten 
. . .

"And, for the support of this Declaration,

with a firm reliance on the protection of Di­ vine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our 
lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Is it any wonder thatAmerican unionshave continued to carry the torch for freedom from. tyranny, 
inspired by the 56 signers of the most famous grievance of them all?

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