This chapter sketches out some critical moments in the history of trade unionism in Britain, although this history is of more general relevance insofar as there are parallels in many other countries. The trade union movement is conceptualized as the collective self-organization of labour in response to the vagaries of the modern capitalist economy. Women's exile from the trade union movement stemmed from pre-existing gender segregations in the labour market. All the empirical testimony in the world will not squash the ideological disputes around trade union democracy. There is an allusion to the fear that the politics of civil rights might eclipse the economics of trade unionism. A world-wide civil rights movement had been germinating in the womb of the 1960s American Independent Living Movement. It has been incumbent upon lesbians and gay men to create their own civil rights organizations in order to document these discriminations in workplaces and elsewhere.