Such as a strike that happened in 1877; the strike had failed to be successful when the government has authorized the approval of police force resulting in strikers being killed and workers beginning to arm themselves for protection. Since employers continually turned a deaf ear to union demands, and unions saw a need to push harder to get the desired results.
On May 11, 1894 a widespread strike lead by railroad workers brought business to a complete cessation; only willing to discontinue until the federal government took unprecedented action to end the strike. The Pullman Strike began “as a peaceful labor protest against a single Chicago employer (54)”, and later ended up “into a national labor boycott of more than twenty railroads and then into a violent confrontation between the federal government, the railroad companies, and American workers (55.)” With the “mix of employer resistance, government aggression, worker bitterness, and general economic desperation (54)”, the Pullman Strike presented questions towards the “rights of employers and workers in an industrialized democracy and about the role
This provided better working hours and safe conditions for the factory workers. People argue that the factory owners sent thugs to interrupt labor unions and government did little to protect the laborers. However, when the Antitrusts Acts were passed, it stated that nothing contained in the Antitrust Laws shall be constructed to forbid the existence and operation of labor organizations (7). This proves that the Federal Government tried to intervene and help the laborers. Sooner or later, factory workers got what they wanted with the help of the reforms during the Progressive Era.
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.
The industrial workers responded by striking in the Pullman Strike. Pullman, Illinois was a company town, which meant that the workers had to pay rent to the company. The Panic of 1893 occurred, and there was a low demand for private railroad cars. As a result, the Pullman Company laid off workers and decreased wages but kept the rent at the same price. This led to the American Railway Union leading a strike.
A labor union is a group of money earners that come together to promote and defend the interests of its members with respect to earnings and working conditions. Labor unions deal with employers on the behalf of its members through a process known as collective bargaining. In the United States, the first labor unions were on a regional level, when shoemakers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, organized in the 1790s. Terrible working conditions in the 19th century led to worker conditions. Employers fought back against the strikes by issuing demands, hiring private detectives and engaging in other dispositions. Sometimes, the strikes became violent. The National Labor Relations Act was passed in 1935 to protect workers ' rights to form unions and
Nevertheless, a protest and unsuccessful strike of ‘Lowell Mill Girls’ in 1834 find a prominent place in the history of labor movement in the United States. Labor movements are also credited for their contribution to civil liberties. As per ACLU website, “Collective action is often necessary to protect individual rights. Unions by their nature facilitate and enhance the exercise of core civil liberties, such as the right of association, speech, and petition.” ACLU website further says that collective bargaining statutes take into account the economic reality that individual workers typically lack the bargaining power to stand up meaningfully for their individual
After the police stopped several of these meeting the workers didn’t stop there, they started to publicly express the wrongs in these industries. Some of these actions would be creating small strikes, creating slogans heard everywhere like "Eight Hours for Work, Eight Hours for Rest, Eight Hours for What We Will!" or "Shortening the Hours Increase the Pay". , or even creating songs like "the Eight Hour Day". Soon after that the works started to arrange marches through the middle of down town. Nearly 100 thousand workers marched through the middle of down town chanting about the eight-hour day.
They would have no nails, they had worn them off pulling hides; their knuckles were swollen so that their fingers spread out like a fan. There were men who worked in the cooking-rooms...in these rooms the germs of tuberculosis might live for two years.” These suffering Americans appealed to the government and labor unions for help, but they did not receive it due to lack of union organization, big business ties, and laissez-faire economic ideals. During the Gilded Age, the U.S. government suppressed the average industrial worker, and labor unions, though created for laborers’ aid, accomplished little and were futile when facing big business and government.
The AFL advocated for most of the same things as the Knights of Labor. The American Federation of Labor used strikes and boycotts against owners to try and get what they wanted. Two major strikes that occurred were the Pullman Strike and the Homestead Strike. Both strikes were very dangerous and had millions of dollars of damage. Some of the strikes and boycotts did work and wages were raised, however some backfired and many workers ended up losing their
During the Progressive Era, most employers were not concerned with workers rights and focused more on profit than human rights or safety. The poor working class, as well as immigrants who had worked in the United States for a while, became infuriated over the unfair treatment and working conditions of which they suffered. Hugh Rockoff explains, “…industrialization had alienated the workingman…” (Rockoff 747).
During the Gilded age billionaires like Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller were earning massive profits off of the backs of cheap, underpaid labor. Working conditions in the late nineteenth century were terrible and the pay was even worse. Workers would work for 12 hour days in harsh dangerous conditions with no job security and no safety standards These employees would earn a bare minimum wage of one dollar a day for six days a week. Outraged workers wanted better conditions and better pay, so they formed unions like the Knights of Labor (KoL) and the American Federation of Labor (AFL). These unions fought for eight hour work days, better conditions, and better pay along with other topics.
This was most likely due to the fact that when the shipyard workers decided they must go on strike in order to be heard, they did not wish to make the lives of other working men and women like themselves any harder than they needed to be, so they set up ways that services such as the fire department continued running. However, while crime decreased drastically during this particular time of strike, Zinn points of the reality of chaos that occurred afterwards. Raids and arrests of Socialist Party members and members of the IWW happened
However, the economic crises in 1837 collapsed the labor unions because of economic hard times, and with immigrants coming in surplus willing to work for cheap, regular people could not compete and thus had to work at the beckon of the factories. Labor unions worked when the economy was resilient, but when the economy was shocked, everyone was too afraid of demanding more when there were those willing to work for
The AF of L wanted “unionism” and opposed socialism. TheKnights of Labor, another labor union, was created in 1869 and enlisted in their ranks not only alllaborers but also everyone who could be truly classified as a producer. Labor unions, the two major depressions and the three “robber barons” were three of theforemost reasons the Gilded Age got its name. The “robber barons” invested in things that wouldultimately lead to a “Golden Industrial Age” but they didn’t achieve it totally legitimately, and thecreation of the labor unions sided with the workers, but at times, grew violent in their methods.