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Labor: Unions and Strikes
Transcript of Labor: Unions and Strikes
A presentation by Kyle Fishbein, Reyhum Chowdhury, Tim Goodwin, and Matt Stojanov
Corporations focused on internal competition
People focused on making industry better for the working class
Age of Big Business
Clothing companies in big cities combined two systems
Managers changed production quotas constantly to create extreme competition between outworkers and factory workers
Traditional textile families worked from home (paid by production)
Newer textile workers worked in the factory (paid by hour)
Textile Industry: Old vs. New
Wage system required much larger number of workers to fill quotas
Workers enticed by promise of paying job
Immigrants held dominance in many unskilled jobs
Industrial expansion created many new opportunities for non-domestic jobs
Suspended immigration from China for 10 years
Chinese living in America had their rights restricted
No Chinese could become American citizens by naturalization
Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
National Labor Union
In Chicago, Illinois, on May 4, 1886, a group of 4,000 individuals came to protest police brutality from the day before.
Officer Degan killed by bomb thrown into police ranks.
After bomb was set off, chaos ensued.
8 individuals were arrested as accessories of the murder of officer Degan.
Nationwide movement began to free the prisoners.
Lingg committed suicidal act.
4 of the martyrs were lynched.
The three remaining martyrs were pardoned on June 26th, 1893.
140,000 members in 1886
Supported the new wage system
Achieved better working conditions, better wages, and less hours
Believed in "Aristocrat of Labor"
American Federation of Labor
McNeese, Tim. The Labor Movement: Unionizing America. New York: Chelsea House, 2008. Print.
"RIOTING AND BLOODSHED IN THE STREETS OF CHICAGO.; POLICE MOWED DOWN WITH DYNAMITE. STRIKERS KILLED WITH VOLLEYS FROM REVOLVERS. THE SLAUGHTER FOLLOWING AN ANARCHIST MEETING--TWELVE POLICEMEN DEAD OR DYING--THE NUMBER OF KILLED OR INJURED CIVILIANS UNKNOWN BUT VERY LARGE--THE BRAVERY OF THE POLICE FORCE." RIOTING AND BLOODSHED IN THE STREETS OF CHICAGO. N.p., 05 May 1886. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
"American Labor 1865-1900." American Labor 1865-1900. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
"The Social Gospel and the Progressive Era, Divining America, TeacherServe®, National Humanities Center." The Social Gospel and the Progressive Era, Divining America, TeacherServe®, National Humanities Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
"Labor Arts." Labor Arts. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
"Eugene V. Debs and American Socialism." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
"Digital History." Digital History. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
Founded by Philadelphia garment cutters in 1869
Largest labor organization in 19th century
Led by workman Terrence V. Powderly
Purpose was to bring together workers regardless of skill
KOL designed cooperation companies that were created to let workers make decisions and share in profits
Companies soon failed because of large scale competition
The Knights of Labor
Equal pay for equal work
An end to child labor
Eight hours of work a day
Stronger safety regulations
Immediate Goals of the K.O.L.
Corporations concerned with making bigger profit led to creation of wage system
Workers paid by hour, not by production
Decision taken out of workers' hands and given to corporate elite
Long-standing practices abolished in favor of competition and favoring the corporate elite
New technology in play
THE WAGE SYSTEM
Socialist movements and Socialist Party
Non-Union Support for the Workers' Cause
14 years of prosperity
17 years of hard times
Economic Conditions (1866-1897)
Supervisors did not provide safe environments for workers
Locked doors, exposed wires, poisonous air, fast machines
10 to 12 hour workdays
8 hours for federal employees
Hazardous Working Conditions
Founded by Eugene V. Debs
Called for nationalization of all industry
Membership hit 125,000 in 1912
Opposed involvement in World War I
Debs was party's presidential candidate in five elections
Still active today
The Socialist Party
Unionists at Carnegie Steel Co. paid well and held their jobs in 1892
Frick and Carnegie conspired to enact large wage cuts at end of workers' contracts
Frick fortified factory to prepare for oncoming strike
Hired own private army to stop strikers
Strikebreakers took over workers' jobs
Pennsylvania National Guard intervenes and puts a stop to strike
Strike rendered ineffective because the company filled their jobs
Required officials to monitor working conditions, required to improve sweatshops
Working conditions in Chicago supposed to be drastically improved by implementation of act
Illinois Factory Investigation Act of 1893
Domestic service roles filled by African Americans and immigrants
Clerks, sales positions, office work
Jobs filled by white, English-speaking men and women
8.6 million women worked outside the home
Number of employed black men declined from 1870-1900
Job Demographics (1900)
Believers thought that Christian values and tolerance for worker exploitation were incompatible
Leaned towards Protestant theology but included Catholics as well.
The Social Gospel
American Federation of Labor
Local AFL organized better than at national level (decentralized)
Represented 10% of working americans in 1900
Responsible for celebration of Labor Day in 1880's
Became national holiday in 1894
Coeur d'Alene Strike
Massive wage cut for workers in Coeur d'Alene district
Owners called in strike breakers
Strikers blew up train car; discouraged strike breakers from going there
300 strikers jailed
Owners used scab labor
George M. Pullman created successful industrial community
Workers voted to strike after Pullman fired complaints committee members
Eugene V. Debs led strikers
Opted for nationwide boycott of Pullman railroad car
Worked with American Railway Union (ARU)
Advocated peaceful approach and civil disobedience
Attn. Gen. Richard C. Olney instituted blanket injunction against strike
July-Pres. Cleveland sent troops over Gov. John Altgeld's objections
13 people died and more than 50 wounded
12 people killed across nation when they resisted federal troops
Strike ends July 17
Socialist Party created
Founded in 1866 by William Sylvis
Supported 8 hour workdays
Did not support expanded suffrage for women
Huge downfall for all unions in 1873
Disbanded in 1874
Politicians often were kind to workers and included:
President Theodore Roosevelt
Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld