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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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2
A black hole that you're forced to throw money into if you belong to one. One never really knows where it all ends up, and no one may never will.
Karl: What the hell's with these deductions from my paycheck.

Mary: Well the unions hungry again.
by TheTopHat April 16, 2011
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3
Adverb: An 'intensifier' adverb used to show extreme negative.
That old man isn't just driving slow, he's driving UNION slow.
by thisisfutile August 05, 2009
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4
Hey Mike! I'm gonna take a union and also blow up a bottle of "The Works" in the parking lot. You should check it out!
by Duru Consigliere July 10, 2008
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5
Lazy American workers who, through their association with the mafia and south american drug cartels, claim they have "the right not to work."
Mike: "Hey Jeff I jost got word GM is laying me off!"
Jeff: "Have fun sitting around in the breakroom for 9 months on company time. Remember, the Teamsters Union afforded you the right to be a lazy ass."
Mike: "Oh great Jeff! By the way, hows that Indian call center job going?"
by right-to-work-is-right November 21, 2008
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6
The only reason a person with no college education or skills can earn $25 an hour for unskilled labor while sitting around and doing nothing, showing up for work late or drunk, calling in sick half the time and without concern for punishment, taking a very long lunch and like 5 breaks, and getting most holidays off while having the audacity to complain and demand more from his company and go on strike about his company’s alleged “unfair” working conditions. The only thing that would be “fair” is for the company to kick the union and its lazy employees like this to the curb and replace them with hardworking people who would be grateful to have such high pay and benefits for unskilled work.

I hate the union! All labor unions are antiquated, corrupt, useless and a detrement to corporate America. The union(s) are also the reason so many industrial jobs in this country are going to Mexico and China.
by krock1dk April 25, 2008
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7
Unions were designed to help workers and they did. Lives and working conditions for the workers improved. But the power of the unions got out of control as they took control of the government and made laws. Now the government denies a struggling businessman the right to try to get his business out of financial difficulty by cutting workers or their wages. Telliong people how to run their lives, sounds like fascism. Apparently unions think they have the right to a job and because of that the businesses will go out of business and everyone will be out of work.
Stupid Lawyer: You can't fire that worker, he worked here for ten years. He has family.

Business Owner: I understand, but I have to cut costs to stay in business or else I will go under and no one will have a job.

Lawyer: You disgusting Capitalist pig, how dare you run your business the way you choose.

Business Owner's Lawyer: I'm sorry, but he right, due to the union laws, you can't just fire him.
by Randon March 03, 2006
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