Labor Movements

Haymarket Riots
Pullman Strike

  • Background:
    • U.S. had world's highest rate of accidents
    • Machinery took over many skilled jobs— labor more of a commodity
    • National Labor Union, 1866
      • inspired states to make bureaus of labor, these collected data on labor
      • disappeared in 1870's depression
    • Congress
      • Bureau of labor, 1884
      • Labor Day to honor workers, 1894
    • Molly Maguires carry out guerrilla warfare in mining industry
  • Great Railroad Strike, 1877
    • After Panic of 1873, railroads cut wages
    • Baltimore and Ohio Railroad cut wages on July 16, 1877, set off strike
    • Traffic from St. Louis to East coast stops
    • 10 states call out milita
    • End of August, at least 100 strikers, militiamen, and bystanders killed
  • Knights of Labor established by Terence V. Powderly in 1869
    • organized by industry, not craft, some allowed women and blacks
    • “Bread and butter” issues, meaning shorter hours, higher wages, better working conditions
    • Methods included bargaining with employers and strikes
    • Powderly against strikes because it meant acknowledging wage system as legitimate, and a failed strike could mean end of organization
    • Successful strikes in 1884 and 1885 against Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific Railroads.
    • Defeated in another strike against Missouri Pacific in 1886, ruined after Haymarket.
  • American Federation of Labor, 1886
    • founded by Samuel Gompers
    • Accepted Capitalism and wage system, unlike Knights of Labor
    • organized by trade/craft
    • same “bread and butter” principles with addition of occupational safety
    • most members were skilled workers, few women and blacks
  • Progress and Poverty, 1879
    • by Henry George
      • joined Knights of Labor, ran for Mayor of NYC
    • Land monopoly is source of wealth disparity
      • control of land and resources by few at the expense of many
    • Solution: 100% tax on “unearned increment” of land value
      • difference between original cost of land and current goes to government because it wasn't earned by the owner
      • few people endorsed the tax
    • book impacted many because of portrayal of injustices of poverty
  • Looking Backward, 1887
    • by Edward Bellamy
    • takes place in 2000
      • All industry is controlled by government
      • equal pay, equal economic status, no strikes
      • world without social conflict
    • “Nationalism,” not Socialism
    • Christian Socialism
      • aid to poor as important as saving souls
      • built settlement homes in 1890's
  • Homestead Strike, 1892
    • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at Carnegie Steel Company's Homestead plant
    • Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick sought to get rid of members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers
    • Used wage and hours dispute to start a “lockout” to reopen the plant with non-union workers
    • Workers responded with a “sitdown”
    • 300 Pinkerton guards called in
    • Gun battle broke out July 6, 1892
      • 9 strikers, 7 Pinkertons dead
    • Governor sent in 8,000 militia to protect strikebreakers and reopened the plant
    • Anarchist tried to murder Frick, shifting public sympathy from strikers
    • Failed strike crippled Amalgamated Association which was destroyed in 1901 in another failed strike against the same company
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