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Labor Unions & Strikes. United States History. Three Choices for Workers…. Continue in misery Join a Union and possibly get fired or even killed Become a communist and start a revolution. Socialism. Public control of property & income Society should be in charge of wealth

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labor unions strikes

Labor Unions & Strikes

United States History

three choices for workers
Three Choices for Workers…
  • Continue in misery
  • Join a Union and possibly get fired or even killed
  • Become a communist and start a revolution
socialism
Socialism
  • Public control of property & income
  • Society should be in charge of wealth
  • Wealth should be redistributed equally
  • Karl Marx & Frederick Engels
  • How to get this done? Workers revolution
could this happen in america
Could This Happen In America?
  • How could this help workers?
  • Who would be against Socialism/Communism in America?
  • This is radical—is there something less radical that would help workers?
less radical labor unions
Less Radical—Labor Unions
  • Unions: improve working conditions (not overthrow the system)
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Strikes (last resort)
  • Best—national strike
  • Why was this appealing to workers?
knights of labor
Knights of Labor
  • First important national union
  • Wanted to organize ALL workers: skilled, unskilled and of all backgrounds (no racial restrictions)
  • Set the example: negotiate, then strike if needed
  • Goals: 8 hour day; end of child labor
  • Lost influence after violent strikes
other unions
Other Unions
  • American Federation of Labor (AFL):
    • Smaller local unions with a national organization
    • Wages, hours, conditions
    • Strikes, collective bargaining
    • Barred African-Americans
  • Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
    • Wobblies
    • Socialists
employers reaction
Employers’ Reaction
  • No Union Meetings
  • Union organizers fired
  • Blacklisting
  • Yellow Dog contracts
  • Would not bargain collectively
  • Strikes met with violence
the great strikes
The Great Strikes
  • Haymarket Riot (1896)—8 hour workday (national strike); scabs hired in Chicago (fights); rally—bombing & gunfight btw. Police & strikers; Ill. Law: help with murder, then you are a murderer: 4 anarchists hanged for murder (one blew himself up in prison). Never determined who threw the bomb.
  • Homestead Strike (1892)—Carnegie Steelworkers called a strike (factory cut their wages) & were fired; management sent in “private” police force (fight with deaths); strike called off
  • Pullman Strike (1894): Company town; wages cut 25% (Panic of 1893); food prices in town NOT cut; Pullman fired three negotiators; strike; al RR traffic halted; strike ordered illegal because mail couldn’t get through
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