The gold rush played a major part in the development of the labor union. In those days, unions were needed to protect the rights of workers. The organization and collective bargaining power gave the workers a voice, and brought fairness in to the workplace. I believe that the union's early days of empowering a work force and forcing the implementation of federal laws to protect the workers has succeeded. Fair wages, safe and tolerable working conditions, health benefits and reasonable vacation and sick time are acceptable demands that they usually make.The major formation After the Civil War killed much of the working population. At that time, people began to appreciate their skills more and more due to the lack of human resources. Labor Unions began forming to assist people who were in the need. Unions did receive some of what they bargained for, but their greatest gain was the augmented participation in which people began to express their feelings. After the war, factory production and railroad building expanded, which generated much concern about the well being of the workers. By 1864, about 300 local unions operated in twenty northern states. Labor unions all started out as a small idea when a few workers shared their ideas that they did not like the way management was running things. They formed a union and threatened the management by walking off the job.