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Industrial Workers: Big Business 1880-1920

Children and Women workers _ Triangle Shirtwaist Co. Fire Working Conditions Labor Unions - Strikes

tiffany kopp

on 24 May 2011

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Transcript of Industrial Workers: Big Business 1880-1920

Industrial Workers! Founders of the Knights of Labor. Issues of low pay, long hours, unsafe working conditions, and lack of control over the pace or quality of work that unskilled workers did, led to the founding of a new kind of labor organization. In 1869 Philadelphian Uriah S. Stephens (portrait in center) and his fellow garment workers named their new secret organization the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, patterned after the rituals of such fraternal groups as the Masons. The Knights excluded only those they characterized as "non-producers," and sought to join all workers in a given locality into a single organization. Women delegates attending a national meeting of the Knights of Labor, 1886. Wearing ribbon badges that identify their local, a separate association linked to the all-male union in their city, these women workers illustrate the success of the Knights of Labor in organizing the female labor force. African Americans were also more welcome in the Knights, and treated more fairly, than in any other union of the 19th century that also included whites Despite attempts at Progressive legislation in behalf of working women, working conditions for many remained grim. In March 1911 a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City. More than 500 immigrant workers, predominantly women and mostly Italians and Jews from Eastern Europe, were employed by the company, which had locked the exit doors to keep union organizers out. In the panic of the fire, many died of suffocation; others trapped in the top levels of the ten-story building jumped to their deaths. Here, firemen search for bodies in the aftermath of the fire. 146 people, mostly women, died in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Labor organizer Rose Schneiderman, then 29 years old, told the city's leaders that "This is not the first time that girls have been burned alive in the city. . . . Every year thousands of us are maimed." The outrage over the fire led the governor of New York to appoint an investigating committee, which recommended laws requiring improved safety conditions and a shorter work week in factories located in New York state. Working Conditions: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
Fire ? What Safeguards have you seen
since you got up this morning? Labor Union Major Strikes Haymarket Square Riot Homestead Strike Pullman Strike The railroads had huge capital debt, interest payments on bonds, and enormous fixed costs. They were battling each other in vicious rate wars. To maintain profits in 1877 the presidents of several railroads agreed could spare, labor. The railroads had already forced pay cuts on their labor force earlier in the depression. The railroads had blacklisted labor organizers and driven out the first unions. And in 1877 they came back again with more cuts. When a new round of cuts started, workers staged a spontaneous strike, shutting down the rails until wages were restored. The strike spread along the rail lines, eventually reaching across the country. Railroad Strike Workers worked 10 or 12 hours a day, six days a week.
Could be fired at any time for any reason.
During economic hardships could be fired and replaced by immigrants who were paid less.
Factories and mines were noisy, unhealthy, and unsafe.
Steel workers burned by hot steel. Miners died from cave-ins and gas and coal dust.
Garment workers died from airborne lint. Worked in sweatshops that were crowded and damaged their eyes from long hours in poor lighting

. Child Labor:

Child labor laws were mostly ignored. State laws required children to be at least 12 to work in factories and could only work up to 10 hours a day. These laws did not apply to agriculture Women:

Started to work in factories, mostly textile industry.
No laws regulated workers wages, so women were paid half of what men earned. Why women were assumed to have a man to support her. A man had support their families so they needed higher earnings. Workers at Carnegie's steel plant in Homestead, VA
went on strike.
Managers hired nonunion workers to replace them.
300 armed guards were brougt in.
A violent battle begun that resulted in atleast 10 people dead.
Resulting in the Plant reopening and nonunion workers hired. Pullman's railway-car plant closed after workers went on strike
American Railway Union supported by refusing to handle Pullman cars
This stopped railway traffic Economic depression led to wage cuts.
12,000 Workers went on strike.
Following this strike, Americans associated the labor movement with terrorism and disorder. Knight of Labor American Federation of Labor Industrial Ladies's Garment Workers Union ( ILGWU) Repersented skilled workers
Wanted: higher wages, shorter hours,
better working conditionds,
& collective bargaining Accepted Women
Mary Harris fought for worker's rights
Wanted: safer working conditions
Many other unions would not accept women. ? Would you have liked to work in a
factory during this time and why?
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