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CH. 14-3 WORKERS ORGANIZE. AMERICAN HISTORY. GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS. Late 1800s Government maintained a hands-off attitude to business Government became uneasy about the power giant businesses had 1890—Congress passes the SHERMAN ANTI-TRUST ACT

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government and business
GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS
  • Late 1800s Government maintained a hands-off attitude to business
  • Government became uneasy about the power giant businesses had
  • 1890—Congress passes the SHERMAN ANTI-TRUST ACT
  • Illegal to form trusts that interfered with free trade
  • Prohibited monopolies and activities that hindered competition
  • 1890-1901—only 18 lawsuits were brought under this law
slide3

1890—10% of the population controlled 75% of the national wealth

  • The rich were exceedingly rich with many industrial workers had to survive on $500 per year
industrial workers
INDUSTRIAL WORKERS
  • THE WORKFORCE
  • Many factory workers were immigrants
  • Others were rural Americans that moved to cities to earn a living
  • Best factory jobs went to native-born whites
  • African-Americans found work as laborers or household help
  • Many industrial workers were children
  • By 1900—1/6 of children aged 10-15 held a job outside the home
  • Some as young as age 5 worked to help the family
slide5

WORKING CONDITIONS

  • 10-hour work days, 6 days a week
  • No paid vacation, no sick leave, and no compensation for injuries suffered on the job
  • Employers pressured workers to work as fast as they could
  • This led to terrible accidents
  • SWEATSHOPS—cramped workshops set up in shabby tenement buildings
  • Common in the garment industry
workers seek change
WORKERS SEEK CHANGE
  • Late 1800s—terrible working conditions prompted workers to organize
  • EARLY ORGANIZING
  • Labor movement started in the 1700s
  • 1794—Philadelphia shoemakers formed a trade union to protect their interests
  • Other workers organized over the next few decades—carpenters, blacksmiths, printers, etc.
  • These unions remained small and local
slide7

NATIONAL UNIONS

  • The National Labor Union (NLU) organized in 1866
  • Federation of small, local unions
  • Pushed for shorter 8-hour work day
  • NLU folded in 1872
  • Knights of Labor (Philadelphia-1869) was more effective
  • Leader—Terence V. Powderly
  • 1880s—accepted unskilled workers, women, African Americans and even employers
slide8

It excluded bankers, gamblers, lawyers, liquor sellers, physicians, and stockholders

  • 1886-- >700,000 members
  • “An injury to one is a concern to all”
  • Proposals—8-hour workday; end of child labor; equal pay for equal work
  • Early years—discouraged strikes, preferring boycotts, and negotiation with employers
  • THE GREAT RAILROAD STRIKE
  • First major railroad strike happened in 1877
slide9

Times were tough and northern railroads cut wages

  • Workers for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad walked of the job and blocked several freight trains
  • Pennsylvania Railroad blocked all trains on their lines
  • Strike spread to other railroads, stopping most freight traffic for more than a week
  • Several governors called out their state militias to put down the strikes
slide10

Baltimore—militia fired into the crowd killing 10

  • Troops in Pittsburgh killed 20 including 3 children
  • Mobs in Pittsburgh set trains, buildings, and equipment on fire causing $4 million damage
  • US Army finally ended the strike that caused 100+ deaths
  • THE HAYMARKET RIOT
  • 1886—more intense strikes
  • Wage cuts in many industries forced workers to go on strike
slide11

Haymarket Square (Chicago)—crowds gathered to protest violent police action at a strike the previous day

  • Someone threw a bomb into the crowd
  • People panicked and gunfire rang out
  • When order was restored, 11 people died and over 100 were injured
  • Police immediately blamed foreign-born unionists
  • XENOPHOBIA—fear of foreigners
  • Police arrested numerous suspects—many with foreign sounding names
slide12

8 people were charged with conspiracy and murder

  • No evidence existed to connect these people to the crimes
  • 5 of the suspects weren’t even in Haymarket Square at the time of the incident
  • All 8 were convicted and sentenced to death
  • 4 were hanged and 1 killed himself in prison
  • 1893—the new Illinois governor pardoned the remaining 3 because of lack of evidence
slide13

THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR

  • Employers struck back at workers forcing them to sign contracts saying they would not join a union
  • Employers kept and shared BLACKLISTS (people perceived as troublemakers)
  • These people would not be hired
  • If workers went on strike, employers replaced them with “scabs” or strikebreakers
  • Scabs were often African Americans or others excluded from the unions
slide14

1886—a group of skilled workers led by Samuel Gompers formed the AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR (AFL)

  • Strikes and other tactics won them wage increases and shorter work weeks
  • THE HOMESTEAD STRIKE
  • 1892—workers at Carnegie Steel Company in Homestead, PA protested at an increase in production
  • The refused to work faster
  • The manager tried to lock them out
  • The workers seized the plant
slide15

Days later gunfire erupted when the company’s private guards tried to re-take the plant

  • Fierce battle raged for 14 hours
  • 16 people died
  • The governor called out the state militia and within months the steelworkers’ union withered
  • THE PULLMAN STRIKE
  • 1893—Pullman company laid off 1/3 of its workers
  • It cut wages of remaining workers by 25% but rent was not lowered
slide16

Workers went on strike with the support of EUGENE V. DEBS (leader-American Railway Union (ARU))

  • He urged workers not to work on any train that contained Pullman cars
  • The government stepped in and ordered an end to the strike because US mail was disrupted
  • ARU officials refused and were jailed
  • President Grover Cleveland called in federal troops and the strike collapsed
  • Workers who didn’t quit the ARU were blacklisted or fired
slide17

The next several decades saw unions struggle for progress

  • Unions would eventually gain considerable power
  • THE END