The Labor Movement
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The Labor Movement. The Rise of Unions CHAPTER 20 SECTION 4. By the late 1800s, harsh conditions led workers to organize:. Long hours. Low wages. Unsafe working conditions. Workers fight back:. Took days off. Slowed their work pace. Strikes. Knights of Labor 1869.

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The Labor Movement

The Rise of Unions


By the late 1800s, harsh conditions led workers to organize:

Long hours

Low wages

Unsafe working conditions

Workers fight back:

Took days off

Slowed their work pace


Knights of Labor 1869

Did not believe in strikes

Unskilled labor could not join

GOALS – shorter workday, end to child labor, equal pay for men/women

AFL (American Federation of Labor) 1886

(organized nationally)

Organized by Samuel Gompers

Open to skilled labor only

AFL: limited goals

Higher wages

8 hour workdays

Improved work conditions

Fought for collective bargaining


Supported use of strikes

Collected dues to help pay workers during strikes

By 1910, 1.5 million members

Haymarket Riot 1886

Strike at McCormick factory in Chicago

Anarchists accused of starting riot

Anti-labor feeling in US leads to drop in membership

Homestead Strike, 1892

Homestead, PA, Carnegie’s Steel Mill.

Thousands of strikers clash with Private Security (Pinkertons)

Governor calls in National Guard to restore order, allow non-union workers into mill.

Weakens public support for unions even more, shows govt. will side with owners/management.

Pullman Strike 1894

Violent strike in Chicago, with railroad workers siding with Pullman employees

Railroad traffic stops in Chicago

Pullman Strike 1894…

Federal Judge orders injunction against the strikers

Strike leaders (Eugene V. Debs) jailed.

Weapons of Labor Unions:

  • Strikes

  • Boycotts

  • Picketing

Weapons of Employers:

  • Hiring of Scabs (replacement workers, strike-breakers)

  • Injunctions – court orders that forbid workers to strike, picket.

  • Lockout – workers cannot work until they agree to employers terms

  • Blacklists – troublemakers are targeted for non-employment by companies.

Women in the Labor Movement:

Women formed their own unions, but had no success

Mother Jones(Mary Jones) campaigned for reforms for workers, union membership

Triangle Fire in 1911 exposed working conditions for women

Triangle Fire: March 1911

Triangle Fire: March 1911

Triangle Fire: March 1911

Firemen’s ladders could not reach the top floors.