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Strikes and Unions

Strikes and Unions. Solving the issues of low pay, bad working conditions and unfair treatment of workers. Unions.

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Strikes and Unions

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  1. Strikes and Unions Solving the issues of low pay, bad working conditions and unfair treatment of workers

  2. Unions • Knights of Labor-a labor union, negotiating with employers, primary demand was for an eight hour day. All trades were accepted- skilled and unskilled workers, all races, men AND women, but not much accomplished. Founded by Terence Powderly. • American Federation of Labor (AFL)-Founded by Samuel Gompers (for 37 years)- focuses on improving working conditions and better pay – they used strikes , boycotts and negotiations. Every member of the AFL was a skilled worker. Gompers believed the AFL would have more political and economic power if unskilled workers were excluded.

  3. Haymarket Strike • Spring of 1886, workers struck at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in Chicago, the factory that made farm equipment including the famous McCormick Reaper. The workers on strike demanded an eight-hour workday, at a time when 60-hour work weeks were common. The company locked out the workers and hired strikebreakers, a common practice at the time. • On May 1, 1886, a large May Day parade was held in Chicago, and two days later, a protest outside the McCormick plant resulted in a person being killed. • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OQxncb2ihQ

  4. Homestead Strike • This violent event happened in Homestead, PA at Carnegie’s Steel Co. It began because Carnegie cut wages of workers- Carnegie said he would hire non-union workers(scabs). The strike lasted four months and became very violent when plant management called in the Pinkerton Detective Agency force the striking workers out of the steel plant. Several people were killed. • The Homestead strike broke the union (Amalgamated Assoc. of Iron and Steel Workers) as a force in the American labor movement. Carnegie Steel remained non-union for the next 40 years. • Strikes such as these caused many Americans to associate labor unions with violence. • http://www.history.com/topics/homestead-strike/videos#homestead-strike • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NljbZAGk0w

  5. Pullman Strike • Pullman Sleeping Car Co. cut pay 25%-but did not lower the rent of the housing. They refused to unload any Pullman car. Rail traffic came to a halt as other rail labor unions joined the strike in support of the Pullman workers. President Cleveland called out federal troops to end the strike as US commerce came to halt when the railroads stopped running. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N2tl1LM1r0

  6. Triangle Shirtwaist Fire • Approximately 500 people, mostly immigrant women, worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. They worked long hours, six days a week, in cramped quarters and were paid low wages. Many of the workers were young, some only age 13 or 14. • On Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire started on the eighth floor-killing 146 people • Many on the eighth and ninth floors were stuck. The elevators were no longer available, the fire escape had collapsed, and the doors to the hallways were locked (company policy). Many workers headed to the windows. • The ladders of the fire trucks only reached the 6th floor. Those on the window ledges started jumping. • The fire and the large number of deaths exposed the hazardous conditions and fire danger that was ever-present in these high-rise factories. Shortly after the Triangle fire, New York City passed a large number of fire, safety, and building codes and created stiff penalties for non-compliance. Other cities followed New York's example. • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdNYqBP_5q4https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpxGZ4YgN8s

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