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The Growth of the American Labor Movement - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Growth of the American Labor Movement. The Changing American Labor Force. Most factories demanded workers be on the job 10-16 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Wages were not good. 1899: average male made $498 each year ($11,000 today)

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The Growth of the American Labor Movement

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The Growth

of the


Labor Movement

The Changing American Labor Force

Most factories demanded workers be on the job 10-16 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

  • Wages were not good.

  • 1899: average male made $498 each year ($11,000 today)

  • 1899: average female made $267 each year ($6,000 today)

By comparison, in 1900 Andrew Carnegie made $23 Million ($516 million today).

Due to such low pay, many parents were forced into sending their children to work as well.

Many children worked 10-12 hours a day, and for that shift they earned an average of 27 cents.

  • Death and injury on the job were common:

  • In the 1880’s an average of 25,000-35,000 workers killed in RR industry each year

  • In 1882 an average of 675 workers were killed in America each week.

Child Labor

Child Labor

“Galley Labor”



Labor Unrest: 1870-1900

National Labor Union (NLU)

  • Founded in 1866 by William Sylvis

  • Sought to bring together all workers, skilled and unskilled, into one big union

  • Worked for 8 hour day-got it for government workers only.

  • Women not welcome.

  • Blacks not welcome, formed their own NLU.

  • Discouraged strikes and violence as a way to force change. Preferred negotiation.

  • Union dies in the Panic of 1873-no clout in bad economy.

William Sylvis

Why do unions do poorly in tough economic times?

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

Why did the workers go on strike?

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877


-Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes sends federal troops to Pennsylvania to break up strike

-sets precedent for use of troops to break strikes

-Government not laissez-faire, but pro-business

Knights of Labor-1869

Terence V. Powderly

An injury to one is the concern of all!

Goals of the Knights of Labor

  • Sought to include all workers, skilled or unskilled, black or white, men and women, into one big union.

  • Eight-hour workday for all.

  • Worker-owned factories.

  • No More child labor.

  • Equal pay for men and women.

  • Safety codes in the workplace.

  • Discouraged strikes as a means to achieve goals, but used them when needed.

  • Preferred negotiation.

Haymarket Riot (1886)

  • Somebody chucks a bomb-8 police killed, 60 wounded. 8 civilians killed, 40 wounded.

  • Knights of Labor blamed—the and their unions dies as a result.

The Tournament of Today: A Set-to Between Labor and Monopoly

The American Federation of Labor: 1886

Samuel Gompers

A.F. of L . Views/Goals

  • Only represented skilled workers-no unskilled workers, women, or blacks.

  • Tried to settle disputes between management and labor without strikes. Would only strike as a last resort.

  • Hated socialism. Believed in capitalism—just wanted workers to get more of the profits.

  • Pushed for closed shops.

Homestead Steel Strike (1892)

Homestead Steel Works

The Amalgamated Association of Iron & Steel Workers

Homestead Strike

  • Reason for Strike: Carnegie cut wages by 20%

  • Carnegie locks out workers, tries to bring in scabs

  • Workers surround factory, won’t let scabs in.

  • Carnegie sends in armed men (Pinkertons) to break up strike—violence ensues.

  • Pennsylvania governor sends in 8000 troops. Strike broken, workers replaced by scabs.

  • Steel workers union broken. Doesn’t recover until the 1930’s.

A “Carnegie Shield”

Carnegie Steel Profits

A “CompanyTown”:

Pullman, IL

Pullman Cars

A Pullman porter

The Pullman Strike of 1894

The Pullman Strike of 1894

  • Cause of Strike:

  • Severe economic depression in 1893 cut into Pullman’s profits

  • To save money, he cut workers wages by 35%.

  • Did not lower rents or food costs. Workers angry and go on strike.

George Pullman

The Pullman Strike and the American Railway Union (A.R.U.)

  • Largest union of its time.

  • Organize all workers, skilled and unskilled.

  • Went on strike in 1893 in support of the Pullman workers.

  • Stopped all railway traffic, including mail trains.

President Grover Cleveland

If it takes the entire army and navy to deliver a postal card in Chicago, that card will be delivered!

End of the Pullman Strike

  • Mail stoppage induced Pres. Cleveland to send in Federal troops.

  • Federal Court orders workers to go back to work of face jail time.

  • Union leaders arrested, sent to prison

Significance of Pullman Strike

  • To many workers, the failure of the Pullman Strike was proof of an alliance between big business and government

  • After the Pullman Strike, many workers give up on capitalism—turn toward socialism!

  • Key-for the first time, the middle class has sympathy for the unions.

The Socialists

Eugene V. Debs-former president of the A.R.U.

International Workers of the World (“Wobblies”)

International Workers of the World

  • Founded in 1905 by socialists as “one big union”

  • Advocated the overthrow of capitalism

  • System should emphasize people, not profits

  • Cooperation over competition

  • Crushed by government during WWI because of socialist beliefs

I.W.W. Founders: “Big Bill” Haywood

  • Violence was justified to overthrow capitalism.

I.W.W. Founders: Mother Jones, “The Miner’s Angel”

  • Real name: Mary Harris.

  • One of the founding members of the I. W. W. in 1905.

  • Organizer for theUnited MineWorkers.

  • Founded the SocialDemocratic Party in 1898.

The Hand That Will Rule the World One Big Union

Labor Union Membership

Workers Benefits Today

The Rise & Decline of Organized Labor

Unionism & Globalization?

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