American History Chapter 6: The Expansion of American Industry IV. The Great Strikes
Bellringer • Your employee has just told you that you must work 5 hours extra a week or you are fired. You will not get paid for these hours.
Objectives • Discover the impact of industrialism on the gulf between rich and poor. • Find out the goals of the early labor union in the US. • Learn why Eugene V. debs formed the American Railway Union. • Study the causes and outcomes of the major strikes in the late 1800s.
A) Gulf Between Rich and Poor • 1890 – 9% of Americans held 75% of the wealth • Workers became politically active • Socialism: economic and political philosophy that favors public instead of private control of the means of production • Society should run the wealth – and distribute it equally • In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote Communist Manifesto • Most Americans opposed socialism – even the poor
B) The Rise of Labor Unions • Early labor unions failed because of depressions NTU and NLU • Knights of Labor – allowed men women and African Americans – fought for equal pay for equal work, 8 hour work day, no child labor – a violent strike ended the union
AFL started by Samuel Gompers 19) Craft Union: only skilled workers – not all workers • No African Americans and women – drive wages down – main goal was wages • Collective bargaining: process in which workers negotiate as a group with employers • Wanted a closed shop – no workers not union members
Employees took steps to end unions • Forbid union meetings • Fired union organizers • Forced workers to sign “yellow dog” contracts – couldn't join union • No collective bargaining during strikes • Refused to recognize unions Quote on page 249 bottom
C) Railroad Workers Organize • The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 – B and O Railroad cut wages because of a depression twice – workers strike – militia called in to break strike – riot spread throughout US – Hayes called in federal troops to put it down – government takes side of business • Some unions peaceful – Eugene Debs American Railway Union • Industrial union: Union that organizes workers from all crafts in a given industry
D) Strikes Rock the Nation • Scabs – negative term for a worker called in by owner to replace striking laborers • Anarchists: radicals who oppose all government
a) Haymarket Riot • Strike at Chicago McCormick reaper factory – got violent when scabs were sent in – police intervened – several dead • Protest rally called at Haymarket Square – bomb thrown into police killing one – police fired into crowd – killing many • 8 people convicted 4 – hanged – one suicide – 3 pardoned later
b) Homestead Strike of 1892 • At Carnegie Steal plant in Homestead Pennsylvania • Carnegie in Europe – partner was Henry Frick • Frick tried to cut wages – strike • Frick called in the Pinkerton private police force – shootout – several dead • Anarchist not involved tried to assassinated Frick • Public opinion turned sour – Strike called off.
c) Pullman Strike of 1894 • Built rail cars • Pullman built a whole town • Cut wages 25% but kept prices of everything else the same • Eugene Debs and the ARU got involved – national train stoppage – delayed mail • President sent in troops – strike over • Government again protected business
Review • What impact did industrialization have on the gulf between rich and poor? • What were the goals of the early labor unions in the US? • Why did Eugene Debs organize the American Railway Union? • What were the causes and outcomes of the major strikes in the late 1800s?