Before the structured labor society that we live in today, America was a very different working world; one plagued with injustice and grievances from workers across the job sectors. Two organizations, the Knights of Labor and later the American Federation of Labor acted as activists for reform and demanded better standards for working, living, and life for workers. Their strategies and success in achieving their goals were as different as the organizations themselves. Coming from a time of segregation and social divide, the Knights of Labor stood out as one of the most accepting labor unions of the age, which largely accounted for their membership to reach almost 800,000 members during its peak. All workers in a trade were included, regardless of their skill level. After taking over as Grand Master Workman in 1879, Terence V. Powderly advocated heavily for fair pay for equal work, a set workday (eight-hour standard), equal opportunity and wages for women, and an abolition of child labor. As inclusive as the Knights were, the organization supported the Chinese Exclusion Acts to keep Chinese immigrants …show more content…
Unlike the Knights of Labor, the AFL only accepted white males who were skilled workers in similar trades into their ranks. Their focus was on economic gains including better wages, hours and working conditions; not over social reform or non-skilled workers plight. By using boycotts, strikes and collective bargaining the organization was able to win shorter working hours and better pay for its skilled workers. Gompers continued with these methods through out his reign, believing that by having a group of unions with only skilled laborers, he could have more influence by excluding the unskilled ones. He saw the higher wages earned by skilled individuals and wanted to capture their wealth and influence in with the AFLs own
The feeling, shown in Nast's illustration after the railroad strike of 1877, that amalgamations simply lead to more " communistic values" and general uniformity made it very arduous to genuinely get anything done. Samuel Gompers, progenitor of the American Federation of Labor, argued that the right to strike was absolutely obligatory if any reforms were going to be made and not even this right had been officially granted to the people by regime (Document I). Gompers made it very pellucid that not even the very substratum of organized labor had been established and so up until this point the advances that had been made, were virtually frivolous. In conclusion, from 1875-1900 very few advances were made through organized labor in achieving better working conditions for workers.
His objectives included raising wages, lowering hours, and improving working conditions. Despite receiving criticism from many, Gompers was determined in his goal of protecting the rights of laborers. A politically conservative man at heart, Samuel Gompers succeeded in bringing about change for workers by defending and upholding his beliefs, but also by cooperating with large
Uriah Stephens formed the Knights of Labor in 1869, but the union gained a national following when Terence Powderly assumed leadership. The Knights of Labor were founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Uriah Stephens and six other tailors in 1869.”The Main goal for Knights of Labor was “To combat this dismal situation for workers, unions of the Gilded Age pursued two broad strategies.
Over 1 million coal miners of the 1902 era did not receive the fair compensation for their tiring and difficult labor. The miners believed that they deserved the right to have a say in their working conditions, health and safety issues, their working hours and their rates of pay. Miners had seen a constant reduction in wages over several years but their rents had stayed the same. The United Mine Workers demanded better benefits but the government was reluctant. A series of strikes were sure to come about.
It soon became the largest labor union group in the United States. “The American Federation of Labor initially allowed only skilled workers to join the organization. Unskilled laborers initially did not have representation under the AFL. The group also originally prohibited women, African Americans, and other racial minorities from joining the organization” (Montgomery, David). The American Federation of Labor were not supports of the working women in the 1920s.
How would you like to work for little to no pay and over 60 hours a week? In today's day in time some people would call that abuse or over work, but that’s exactly what was going on in the 1870s and 1880s. This is where the labor movement started, with people being over worked and little to no pay. As you can imagine people started to get upset with how things were going so that started violent outbreaks along with strikes all across the United States. In the 1880s, a group was formed to help the working man, this group was called the Knights of Labor.
Similarly, in 1886 the Knights of Labor causing the Great Southwest Railroad strike. The workers refused to return due to the long hours, unfair pay, and unsafe conditions. The workers came together in unity to fight for their cause. However, despite their efforts the strike failed and the Knights of Labor
It is a difficult task to challenge the social and economic policies of a country, especially one as patriotic as the United States during the post wartime Red scare era of the 1920 's. labor unions could account for this as they saw their membership fall from a high of 5 million in the 1920s to a mere 3.6 million by 1923(Rosenzweig 353). A combination of Supreme court decisions, Employer pressures and in many cases a lack of a strong leadership seen in previous individuals like Samuel Gompers contributed to this. Yet this trend surprisingly didn’t remain consistent as the great depression emerged around the 1930s. In fact they tripled there membership during the 1930s(Rosenzweig 429).They opened up, recruiting millions of women in their causes
No other organization in the United States arouses as much controversy as the United States’ labor union. Despite its goal to bring the employer and employee together in a bilateral partnership in lieu of an autonomous leadership track, to some the union has only succeeded in causing more mayhem than yielding anything positive while to others, the union has been a life saver by lobbying for better wage, --- and good working conditions. Depending on the perception of the worker, those who have benefited from the labor union have increased job satisfaction and wage while those who have had unpleasant experiences have no membership satisfaction therefore exiting the union. in the United States, the union emerged as early as the 1700s as suggested by Fossum (2014), “the genesis of the American labor movement parallels the birth of the nation. In 1778, New York
The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a pivotal time in American labor history, marked by profound transformation and upheaval. The rise of industrialization brought with it a multitude of challenges for workers, who were forced to contend with a range of issues including hazardous working conditions, low wages, grueling hours, and a lack of job security. These struggles were compounded for marginalized groups such as immigrants and African Americans, who faced discrimination not only in the workplace, but in society at large. Various labor unions emerged in response to these challenges, but many fell short in their efforts to represent all workers. Skilled laborers were often the primary focus, leaving behind unskilled workers who were
This group named the Knights of labor, The Knights of Labor which started becoming prevalent in the late 1880’s, welcomed unskilled and semiskilled workers, including women, immigrants, and African Americans. Their ultimate goal was to create an improved American society in which laborers owned the industries in which they worked they also held the belief that they could eliminate conflict between labor and managements. While racism was still an intensely talked about subject, the Knights of Labor actively accepted and organized, they also created opportunities and accepted blacks in a society that still was harsh towards African Americans. This group called for equality in the workplace for any color, gender, or race they lived by the phrase “equal pay for equal work.” They advocated that workers should be payed by how much they work and not receive a wage cut because they are black or a woman.
Despite progressive victories for organized labor being achieved, both internal and external feuds and threats consistently inhibited large scale gains for the movement. Some of the victories included improved working conditions, checks against monopolies, and protections against child labor. Despite these advances, a grand coalition of workers were unable to totally unite and change the tide of rampant and abusive capitalism in the country. This led to the continuation of a very volatile growing economy that left numerous working-class Americans in shambles, unable to climb out of the holes their wage reliance keeps them in. In order to maintain their massive profits and growing power, the big business owners proved that they were willing to subjugate their own workers in order to stockpile inexplicable piles of
1.The robber barons were Andrew Carnegie JP Morgan and John D. Rockefeller. These individuals were known as robber barons because they were eliminating competition by high pricing and overcharging while managing their monopoly. 2. Trunk lines were four major railroad networks that emerged after the civil war which connected eastern sea ports to western rivers as well as great lakes. The federal government loaned $65 million to western railroads and donated millions of acres.
Peter Grosscup. He wrote “ Ask these whether the conqueror (monopoly) cares whether his trophy (the laborers) is destroyed or preserved. Ascertain from employers whether the laborer is not regarded the same as a machine, thrown out as soon as all the work possible has been squeezed out of him.” Once a worker would lose his maximum efficiency, he would be replaced by the influx of immigrants entering the United States. There was no idea of tenure, only a merit concept.
Eventually it got to the point where these workers were working so much, but barely made enough to support their family. The Knights of Labor was the first national labor group formed in 1869. This group wanted to gain an eight-hour workday, expel asian workers and immigrants from the far east, and stop child labor. Around the same time a new national organization named the American Federation of Labor (AFL) formed when the Knights of Labor union declined. The new organization was led by Samuel Gompers, a cigar maker that helped to form the union.