Knights Of Labor Research Paper

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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

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