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Solutions to Industrial Revolution: Labor Unions????. The Goal of the Labor Union. To negotiate with business owners/leaders better wages, benefits and working conditions. If negotiation does not work, take more action: slow downs, walk outs, strikes .

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the goal of the labor union
The Goal of the Labor Union
  • To negotiate with business owners/leaders better wages, benefits and working conditions.
  • If negotiation does not work, take more action: slow downs, walk outs, strikes
Hundreds of male and female Shirtwaist strikers march to City Hall. Placard says "Union Contract [illegible]".
famous strikes and riots the great railroad strike
Famous Strikes and Riots:The Great Railroad Strike
  • After cutting wages, workers went on strike across East Coast  led to Riots
  • President Hayes called in state militias which caused problems  led to over 100 dead before strike ended
  • Result:
    • Weakened railroad unions
    • Damaged reputation of labor unions because of the disruption and failure.
    • 10%, strikers destroyed equipment, rioted in the streets.
famous strikes and riots the haymarket square riot
Famous Strikes and Riots:The Haymarket Square Riot
  • AFL was demanding a 8hr workday for all Employers, and if not done by May 1, 1886, called for a general strike
  • Police harassment of workers/strikers killed 4 strikers the day before, called for a meeting in Haymarket Square
  • Police ordered people to disperse, bomb was thrown (killed 6 officers, 67 injured)
  • 8 anarchists convicted of murder, unjust trial, they were scapegoats
    • 7 sentenced to death 1 suicide, 4 executed, 2 terms to life in prison
the homestead strike
The Homestead Strike
  • Members of AAISW (Iron & Steel Workers union) very skilled workers, in high demand by employers, so they held some degree of power in the workplace
  • Employers often resented the control the laborers had
  • Mid-1880s, steel industry had new production methods, which reduced companies’ dependence on skilled labor
  • Carnegie decided AAISW in Homestead steel plant had to go and other plants.
  • Carnegie and managers repeatedly cut wages, union accepted
  • After wage cut after wage cut, AAISW called for a strike, head of homestead Henry Clay Frick called for 300 Pinkertons guards (strikebreakers)
  • Battle between strikers and Pinkertons, 3 guards, 10 strikers died, guards surrendered, but company called in PA National Guard (8.000 troops)
  • Public turned against strikers after Frick assassination attempt
  • 9. AAISW failed in its attempt, membership declined to nothing
the pullman strike
The Pullman Strike
  • Pullman Palace Car Company built/repaired at company in Pullman, Chicago
  • Company built town of Pullman so workers could rent homes from owner, George M. Pullman
  • Rents high, and in 1893 wages slashed due to the Panic of 1893 (depression), but Pullman refused to lower rents
  • Workers went on strike, led by Eugene V. Debs, within days thousands of railroad workers in 27 states/territories went on strike = no transportation from Chicago to West Coast
  • Most state governors supported Business side, but Ill. Governor Peter Aletgeld was sympathetic towards workers and did not send state militia
  • Others asked Fed. Gov to send militia, Cleveland disliked unions and sent troops
  • Union leaders (Eugene V. Debs) were arrested and imprisoned. The strike collapsed.
three major labor unions
Three Major Labor Unions
  • Knights of Labor
  • American Federation of Laborers (AFL)
knights of labor
Knights of Labor
  • Founded by Uriah S. Stephens  membership opened to all workers, and most business & professional people. Excluded: lawyers, bankers, liquor dealers, and professional gamblers.
  • Actually WELCOMED women!
  • Not really centralized, met locally
  • Philosophy: 8 hour work day, abolition of child labor, wanted long range reform to replace the “wage system” with a “cooperative system” in which workers themselves control a large part of the economy.
  • Secret organization  Late 1870s order became public and grew to 700,000 members by 1886.
  • Too big to control  local chapters launched series of strikes that discredited the Union. 1890 membership shrunk to 100,000. A few years later, disappeared.
american federation of laborers afl
American Federation of Laborers (AFL)
  • Founded by Samuel Gompers
  • Rejected the AFL’s idea of one labor union for everyone, instead was an association of essentially autonomous craft unions and represented mainly skilled workers.
  • Generally hostile to organizing unskilled workers
  • FL against women in the workforce all together because they felt women should be at home, but they did seek equal pay for those women who did work and sought women organizers for industries predominated by women.
  • Philosophy: Accept capitalism, but secure for the workers a greater share of capitalism’s material rewards. Objected fundamental economic reform, government protection of workers. Focused instead on Labor/Management relationships. Better Wages, hours, and working conditions through collective bargaining, but will use strikes if necessary.
  • Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
  • Never more than 100,000 members
  • Conducted numerous strikes, many with bloodshed!
labor s weaknesses
Labor’s Weaknesses
  • Late 19th century, workers made few gains, suffered many losses
  • Wages rose hardly at all, could not keep up w/ rising cost of living
  • Reason for Failures: principal labor organizations represented only a small percentage of the industrial work force. ONLY 4% of industrial workers belonged to a Union in 1900.
  • 2 reasons for not organizing:
    • Immigrants usually only intended to make some money in America and then return home
    • Other American workers believed they were not going to be part of a permanent working class and that they or their children would become a higher position in society.
dislike for labor unions
Dislike for Labor Unions
  • Often hard to Unionize
  • If wide unemployment, people rather low paying jobs than no jobs
  • resentment of unions by middle class believed radical workers to be at heart of all problems