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The Labor Union Movement in America

Struggle of the workers
by

Michael Rieg

on 16 December 2015

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Transcript of The Labor Union Movement in America

Workers Struggle for Fair Treatment
The Labor Union Movement in America
Homestead Steel Strike
Joining together in pursuit of common objectives for working people
Label to identify union made goods
The Union Label
American Federation of Labor
AFL
Federations
Factory system produced misery and slums
Early Years
Organized labor faced indifference
or opposition from public, press, employers and the law.
Why?
Union leaders seen as trouble makers, lose your job if you support them.
Knights of Labor
Prytaneum
Ancient Greece the central fire was the center of the community.
Religious and political center of the community.
"Adelphon Kruptos" (Greek for "Secret Brotherhood") or simply the "AK."
9 original members
Terrance Powderly
All inclusive:
1. Skilled
2. Unskilled
3. Blacks
4. Women
Haymarket Riot 1886
Haymarket Square Riot
Exclusive to skilled workers
1892
Industrial Workers
of
the World
Wobblies
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
1911
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Video Clip
It is we who plowed the prairies, build the cities where they trade
Dug the mines and build the workshops, endless miles of RR laid
Now we stand outcast and starving ‘mid the wonders we have made but
The union makes us strong
Solidarity Forever
by Ralph Chaplin in the Little Red Songbook
Decline of the Union:
Loss of manufacturing jobs that tended to be union strongholds. More technology and service jobs
Employers fight to keep their businesses union-free
New addition to the labor force have little loyalty to organized labor
More women and teenagers working as a second income
Decline of the Union (cont.)
Victims of their own success
Workers signed agreement not to join a union, as a condition of employment
"Bolsheviks": term used to accuse union members of being communist
Locked door to the stairwell
Rusty fire escape that collapsed
Long wooden table obstacles
Wicker baskets full of scraps
Oily floors spread fire quickly
No sprinkler system, used pails of water
Flammable barrel of oil on floor
Boxes crowding exit
Lack of required third staircase
1886
Skilled craftsmen did not want unskilled workers taking their jobs
Government supported big business
Employer has the right to run his business as he sees fit.
Haymarket Video
Bread and Butter Issues
Samuel Gompers
Yellow Dog Contract
Homestead Strike
Return to Triangle
Full transcript