From a young age, Jim Larkin observed the way workers were mistreated. He would ask many questions that went unanswered and some of those who suffered this maltreatment were his parents.
His parents were dock workers who relied on the little they earned to provide for the family. Living in the slums of Liverpool taught a lot of lessons about life and this motivated him to pursue the rights of workers. The first step before he joined workers unions was to get a job at the Liverpool docks.
Jim Larkin had little formal education, so he could not be employed at a higher position than the one his parents held. This chance to work at the dock brought him close to the people and he also suffered the maltreatment many complained about. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html
As a progressive young man who was also a committed socialist, Jim Larkin held the belief that all workers had to be treated fairly, so he became a member of the National Union of Dock Workers, where he took up a full-time assignment as an organizer. Joining the union availed a ripe opportunity that he would use to push for the rights of other workers.
While working as an organizer, he championed a number of strikes, but the union was not particularly happy with his approach, which they termed as militant. Therefore, the union decided to transfer him to Dublin in 1907. But this did not quell his aggression towards fighting for labor rights as he came up with another union called the Irish Transport and General Workers Union.
His aim while creating this union was to get all workers to support the course of fighting for their labor rights. He would organize strikes. His success at managing these unions further motivated him, and the support he had amassed among workers also acted as a boost to his belief in equal rights. Read more: James Larkin | Biography
After this, he formed another movement that he called the Irish Labor Party that aggressively held strikes to agitate for better conditions and pay for the workers. This is the union that brought his effort to the limelight of the world as it championed heated strikes.
One of the most remembered strikes the union championed is the Dublin Lockout that lasted about eight months, and more than 100,000 workers were part of the strike. James Larking also responded when the World War I broke. He moved to the U.S. where he would raise funds to stop the British.