Jim Larkin was a prominent Irish activist and folk hero who lived from 1874 to 1947. His birth took place in the slums of Liverpool, England. Back then children from poor households like his skipped getting a formal education and instead started to work at a very young age.
He eventually found a job on the docks where he joined the union. He advanced his career until he was a foreman and when he was age 31 he became a trade union organizer.
While working for the union Jim Larkin’s bosses didn’t care for the militant strike tactics he favored. For this reason, they put him on a boat and sent him to go work in Dublin. He soon founded a union called the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union.
He saw the union movement as too fragmented so he wanted to bring all Dublin workers together under one organization. For the next six years, he led a large number of strikes with the biggest one being one that was dubbed the Dublin Lockout. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Wikipedia
More than 100,000 workers struck and this went on for over seven months. The result of this strike was that workers gained a number of rights such as working just a 40 hour week.
Jim Larkin was very much against Ireland fighting the Germans in World War I. He decided to raise money to keep Ireland out of the war and the way he did so was by moving to the United States and doing speaking tours. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison and http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/
He was eventually arrested for some of his activities, serving some time before he was pardoned. He was then shipped back to Ireland as he was no longer welcome in America.
For the next thirty years, he continued to be a part of the Irish labor movement. This included establishing another union called the Workers’ Union of Ireland. He also entered politics in 1945 when he joined the Irish Labour Party.
Jim Larkin continued to work for workers right up through the time he died. In fact, he died as a result of a bad fall he had at his union hall.