1 definition by J Myars

Where did the word 'Union' come from?

The word 'union,' in the sense of a 'labor union,' has a most interesting origin.

Its first known usage was in reference to a band of ne'er-do-well field hands in the East Suffolk Broads about 1762. But it was not pronounced as it is today.

Sounding more like 'onion,' the term was applied because of the field hands' skill at avoiding the labor they were hired to do. Whenever there was hard work in the offing, these 'onionists' would begin clamoring to go to the adjoining field to take a leek.

The term quickly won widespread acceptance and beame a source of endless mockery and derision. Humiliated, the early onionists worked desperately to erase the moniker but it stuck like glue.

About 1797, however, they perfected and bankrolled a scheme where, working in concert with Smythe-Scrimshaw (one of London's largest lexicograpical publishers), they managed to change the accepted pronunciation to what it is today.

Their plan took some seven years to unfold and was far too complicated to explain here but history records they finally brought an end to popular knowledge of their earliest and most favored pursuits.
The first union troglodytes built the pyramids. Engineers designed it to be a cube but, as each shift did a little less than the one before, the last said, 'let's just throw a couple of rocks up top and go have a beer.'
by J Myars February 18, 2011

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