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The Union Movement: Labor Unions & Strikes. US History: Spiconardi. The Growth of Unions. Purpose of Unions To protect workers Improve working conditions Collective Bargaining  Courts denied this right at first Believed a worker could find another job if they were unhappy with wages.

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The growth of unions
The Growth of Unions

  • Purpose of Unions

    • To protect workers

    • Improve working conditions

    • Collective Bargaining 

      • Courts denied this right at first

        • Believed a worker could find another job if they were unhappy with wages

union members representing workers negotiate labor issues with management

The knights of labor
The Knights of Labor

  • Founded by Terrence Powderly in 1869

  • Membership

    • Skilled & Unskilled Workers

    • Women

    • Blacks

  • Philosophy & Practices

    • Generally anti-strike

      • Wanted to form cooperative relationship with management

      • Believed workers lost more strikes than they won

  • Causes

    • Eight-hour workday

    • End to child labor

    • Equal opportunity and wages for women

American federation of labor
American Federation of Labor

  • Founded by Samuel Gompers in 1886

  • Membership

    • Skilled workers predominately

    • Women and blacks not welcomed

    • Most powerful union by 1900

      • 500,000 members

  • Causes

    • Worked for immediate goals in better wages and hours

  • Philosophy & Practices

    • Supported strikes

    • Anti-immigration

      • Believed immigrants took jobs away from American workers


  • Strikes end up being a major setback for unions

    • Violence causes public fear

    • Government sides with business and sometimes sends troops in to put down strikes

Haymarket riot
Haymarket Riot

  • May 1, 1886: A spontaneous labor demonstration breaks out

    • Includes anarchist & craft unions

      • Anarchist 

    • Over 100,000 demonstrators turn out in Chicago

    • Started peacefully and calmly

    • Two days later violence breaks out!

      • Union members attack non-union strikebreakers

      • Police storm area and shoot and kill two unionists

a person who believes government is unnecessary and often harmful

Haymarket riot1
Haymarket Riot

  • Labor groups protest police brutality the following evening in downtown Chicago

    • As police approach….BAM!

      • A bomb explodes killing 7 and injuring 67

    • Outcome

      • Knights of Labor blamed and lose any support

      • Increases distrust of unions

        • Unions seen as radical groups comprised of socialists and foreigners

Homestead strike
Homestead Strike

  • In 1892, the AFL affiliated steel workers union strike at the Carnegie Steel plant

  • Company president Henry Frick closes the plant and brings in Pinkerton troops to protect the plant from potential union violence

Homestead strike1
Homestead Strike

  • Workers attack the Pinkerton troops and violence breaks out

    • 16 people killed

    • National guard called in to break up the fighting

  • After 5 months, strike ends

    • Only 25% of striking workers get their jobs back

    • For next 20 years, union movement halted in steel industry

Pullman strike
Pullman Strike

  • “We are born in a Pullman house, fed from a Pullman shop, taught in the Pullman school, catechized in the Pullman Church, and when we die we shall be buried in the Pullman cemetery and go to the Pullman hell.”

Pullman strike1
Pullman Strike

  • George Pullman refused to negotiate with his workers

    • Had to cut wages 25-40%

    • Kept rents and prices the same

    • Workers Strike

    • Pullman closes plant

  • American Railway Union refused to handle Pullman cars

Pullman strike2
Pullman Strike

President Grover Cleveland

  • Railroad owners enlist help of government

    • Claim action was “obstructing the railways and holding up the mails.”

  • President Grover Cleveland sends troops into to stop the strike

    • Federal Government has right to regulate interstate commerce

Question what impact did strikes have on workers and the united states
Question: What impact did strikes have on workers and the United States?

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