A Common Background.
Organizations of craftsmen have an ancient origin and evolved into hundreds of specialized guilds in the Middle Ages. These guilds combined labor and small business. Members worked for themselves and trained their own apprentice helpers.
Along with independent farmers and local merchants, skilled craftsmen were the primary employers until the industrial revolution. Industrialization created the need for masses of unskilled workers and the conditions which ultimately compelled their organization.
Success of the earliest industrial strikes depended on local small business owners, who provided the necessary credit and support that allowed workers and their families to survive.