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The railroadmen's social condition and the evolution of the American railroad system

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image of Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review

While Europe is commiting itself to operating its railway network more freely, the United States have been living since the beginning under competition in that branch. This situation brought about the development of hard working conditions for its employees at first. Yet, since the companies were compelled to operate on a high security level as well as to imperiously allow anybody to have access to this service, they were quickly subdued to stringent control restricting the way they were working and granting social advantages far beyond the rights of the employment law to their railroadmen. This set of rules was implemented by a specific federal organisation, the "Interstate Commerce Organisation", as well as by a special law, the "Railway Labor Act", building a tight frame when industrial disputes break out in that branch. The "Staggers Act", if loosening these rules, didn't aim at questioning them.


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