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The Rise of Labor Unions 1800-1950 Not a Great Beginning • 1806 – Commonwealth vs. Pullis • First reported case arising from a labor strike in the US – 3 Day trial – Defendants found guilty of “a combination to raise their wages” Not a Great Beginning • 1830-40s – Craft Unions • Unions organized around their craft and their skill when bargaining with their employers Not a Great Beginning • 1840s – Commonwealth vs. Hunt • Mass. Ruled that unions were legal organizations and had the right to organize and strike Not a Great Beginning • 1866 – National Labor Union • 1st national labor union in US • Persuaded Congress to pass and 8 hr day for federal employees • Not strong legislation that went away during the recession of 1873 Baby Steps to Success • 1869 – Knights of Labor • Formed by Uriah Stephens • Grew under Terrance Powderly • Open to skilled and unskilled workers Knights of Labor Terence V. Powderly Knights of Labor Demands • Abolition of child/prison labor • Equal pay for men and women • Safety codes in the workplace • Prohibition of foreign contract labor • Increase circulation of greenbacks • Abolition of the National Bank • 8 hr work day • Worker’s cooperatives • Worker owned factories Labor Force Distribution 1870-1900 Changes in the Labor Force 1870-1910 Strike! • 1877 – Great Railroad Strike • Workers protested wage cuts • Halted movement of US railroads • Federal troops called in • Strike put down, 30 workers killed and 100+ wounded Railroad Strike of 1877 The Corporate “Bully-Boys” Pinkerton Guards Molly McGuires • 1885 – Irish coal-mining activists • Group infiltrated by Pinkerton and James McParlan • Were blamed for committing coalfield crimes and kidnapping – Based on testimony of Pinkerton • Some were executed The Molly Maguires, 1875 James McParland Haymarket Riot • Began as a rally for striking workers of the McCormick Reaper Co • Scabs were abused by strikers and protected by Pinkerton Guards • Someone threw a bomb, killing 8 police officers Haymarket Riots, 1886 Haymarket Martyrs Anarchist organizers were arrested and tried The German immigrants were given the death penalty Neebe, a German-Am, got 15 years in prison Gov. Peter Altgeld, IL • Progressive who worked for child labor laws and workplace safety • Pardoned 3 men from Haymarket • Refused to break up Pullman strike, 1896 Governor John Peter Altgeld AFL and Gompers - Goals • Catered to the skilled worker • Represented workers in matters of national legislation • Maintained a national strike fund • Evangelized the cause of unionism • Prevented disputes among the many craft unions. • Mediated disputes between management and labor. • Pushed for closed shops. Homestead Strike, 1892 • Operations Officer, Henry C. Frick, decreased worker pay by 22% to break the union of steelworkers • Workers planned to keep scabs out • Frick hired Pinkerton and advertised as far away as Boston for replacements Striker behind shield during cannon fire Homestead Strike, 1892 • Clashes between Pinkerton guards and strikers lasted for weeks • Frick was injured in a murder attempt • E. European scabs crossed picket lines • With no federal assistance, the strike was broken • The depression of 1893, further hindered union support Homestead Steel Strike (1892) Homestead Steel Works The Amalgamated Association of Iron & Steel Workers Big Corporate Profits! Pullman Strike, 1894 • Wildcat strike after wage cuts • The American Railway Union was the first nationwide union • led by Eugene Debs • Pres. Cleveland ordered federal troops to end strike Strikers face National Guard Pullman Strike, 1894 • Black workers, afraid of being locked out of another job market, broke the picket lines to work, facing additional racial hostility • Debs ignored the injunction and was arrested • Defended by Clarence Darrow • Became a socialist A “Company Town”: Pullman, IL Pullman Cars The Pullman Strike of 1894 President Grover Cleveland If it takes the entire army and navy to deliver a postal card in Chicago, that card will be delivered! International Workers of the World - Wobblies • 1885 – Irish coal- mining activists • Group International Workers of the World - Wobblies • Founded in 1905 • Socialist • Anarchists • radicals • Promoted worker solidarity International Workers of the World - Wobblies • Big Bill Haywood • AL “failed” to organize the working class • Welcomed women and immigrants • Won at strike in Lawrence, MA The Hand That Will Rule the World One Big Union Mother Jones Organizer for the United Mine Workers Founded the Social Democratic Party in 1898 One of the founding members of the IWW in 1905 Lawrence, MA Strike of Textile Workers • Called “Bread and Roses” strike • Mgmt lowered wages when law limiting work week went into effect • 20,000 strikers, mostly immigrant, lasted 2 months The “Bread & Roses” Strike • Demands • 15 c hr wage increase • Double time for overtime • No discrimination against strikers • End to “speed up” on assembly line • End to discrimination against foreign immigrant workers Labor Union Membership Workers Benefits Today International Workers of the World - Wobblies • Big Bill Haywood • AL “failed” to organize the working class • Welcomed women and immigrants • Won at strike in Lawrence, MA
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