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Pt. 3: Labor Unions. What is a Labor Union? An organization of wage earners formed for the purpose of serving the members' interests with respect to wages.

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Presentation on theme: "Pt. 3: Labor Unions. What is a Labor Union? An organization of wage earners formed for the purpose of serving the members' interests with respect to wages."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pt. 3: Labor Unions

2 What is a Labor Union? An organization of wage earners formed for the purpose of serving the members' interests with respect to wages and working conditions.

3 People refuse to buy a company's product until the company meets demands. Boycott Labor Strike One method for having demands met. Workers stop working until the conditions are met. It is a very effective form of attack. Labor Union Workers who organize against their employers to seek better wages and working conditions for wage earners. New immigrants who would replace strikers and work for less pay. Often violence would erupt between strikers and scabs who were trying to cross picket lines to work. Scab Worker

4 A working establishment where only people belonging to the union are hired. It was done by the unions to protect their workers from cheap labor. Black List List of people disliked by business owners because they were leaders in the Union. Often would lose their jobs, beaten up or even killed. Type of negotiation between an employer and labor union where they sit down face to face and discuss better wages, etc. Collective Bargaining Closed Shop Yellow Dog Contracts A written contract between employers and employees in which the employees sign an agreement that they will not join a union while working for the company

5 Lock Out Owner of industry would “lock out” workers who were trying to form a union and replace them with “scabs”. Cooperatives Industry or business organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services—non-profit

6 Labor Unites Industrialization Urbanization Immigration Large disenfranchised population Populist Movement: First attempt of the people to reform capital and labor relationship. Leads to…

7 Unionization in 20 th Century America ► An organized association of workers formed to protect andfurther their rights and interests. ► An organized association of workers formed to protect and further their rights and interests. ► In 1900, 1 in 12 workers unionized. Bricklayers Union, PA, 1900

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9 National Labor Union William Sylvis, 1866 Skilled, unskilled, farmers but excluded Chinese… CooperativesCooperatives, 8 hr. work day, against labor strikes Founded a political party in 1872 Chinese Exclusion ActInvolved in the Chinese Exclusion Act. Lost election, faded away Replaced by Knights of Labor. Knights of Labor Terrence Powderly All workers except Chinese 8 hr. day, cooperatives, prohibition, end child labor Several strikes won some wage gains 1885 to 1886 Unrealistic and vague goals Loss of important strikes and failure of cooperatives Haymarket Riot—1886 American Federation of Labor or AFL Samuel Gompers, 1881 Skilled workers in separate unions. Work within political system for change. Closed shop collective bargainingClosed shop and collective bargaining Over 1 million workers joined and won several strikes Small part of work force eligible to join.

10 Knights of Labor Labor union, sought to organize workers Goals were: end of land grants to the railroads prohibition of child laborers under 14 gender equality in pay

11 American Federation of Labor (AFL) Founded by Samuel Gompers Organized skilled workers in a specific trade

12 The Growth of Unions American Federation of Labor (AFL)AFL Samuel Gompers ► Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)  Advocated socialism: government control of business and equal distribution of wealth. In 1882, on average, 675 laborers were killed in work-related accidents each WEEK!

13 Pt. 4: Major Labor Conflicts of the 1880s & 1890s

14 -Founder of the Socialist Party in the U.S. -Overthrow the existing laissez faire system government ownership -Believes in government ownership of business and capital (money, natural resources) -Government controls production, sets wages, prices and distributes the goods. No profit or competition. -Runs for the presidency several times & loses. (won 6% of popular vote at one point)

15 Railroad Workers Organize  The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 Railway workers protested unfair wage cuts and unsafe working conditions. The strike was violent and unorganized. President Hayes sent federal troops to put down the strikes. −From then on, employers relied on federal and state troops to repress labor unrest.

16  Debs and the American Railway Union –At the time of the 1877 strike, railroad workers mainly organized into various “brotherhoods,” which were basically craft unions. –Eugene V. Debs proposed a new industrial union for all railway workers called the American Railway Union (A.R.U.). –The A.R.U. would replace all of the brotherhoods and unite all railroad workers, skilled and unskilled. Railroad Workers Organize

17 THE GREAT RAILROAD STRIKE OF 1877 The great Railroad Strike of 1877 began on July 16, when railroad workers for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad staged a spontaneous strike after yet another wage cut. After President Rutherford Hayes sent federal troops to West Virginia to save the nation from “insurrection,” the strike spread across the nation. A picture of burned railroad cars during the mass strike

18 Haymarket Square: Chicago 1886 =workers from McCormick Harvesting Machine Company struck for an 8 hour day (They wanted a reduction in the amount of hours they worked in a given day). However, the Knights of Labor (union) did not support their actions. =police came - four strikers killed and several wounded. =next day at a rally in Haymarket Square- anarchists spoke up against police & treatment of workers. =Thousands protest the killings and during the rally the police break up the meeting - someone threw a bomb at police - 7 police die. In response the police spray the crowd with bullets and 10 more workers die with another 50 injured. Result: Anti-Labor feelings sweep the nation and membership in the Knights of Labor Union fell drastically!

19 Haymarket Riot 1886: Chicago, Illinois Workers went on strike for an 8-hour workday Action of Industry? Tried to break the strikes, fights eventually broke out between strikers & strikebreakers

20 Action of government? Police intervention, some tried for murder Effect? Americans become wary of labor unions Knights of Labor blamed

21 Homestead Steel Strike: Workers went on strike for higher wages. Management refused to negotiate and locked out the workers, however the workers broke in and took control of the mill. Management hired the Pinkerton Police, which is a private security force, to take control back. 300 Pinkertons arrived by barge and were greeted by the workers. For 12 hours a battle ensued. The end result was the Pinkertons surrendered.

22 Carnegie then requested help from the Pennsylvania National Guard to restore control over the strikers after the Pinkertons had failed. Carnegie replaced 1700 strikers with new workers called strike breakers (scabs).

23 Homestead Strike 1892, in Pennsylvania Wages of steelworkers cut Action of Labor Union? Calls for a strike Action of Industry? Police force called the “Pinkertons” brought in to break up the strike

24 Action of Government? Troops & local militia sent in to calm the situation Effect? Steelworkers lose power after calling off the strike

25 Carnegie successfully broke up the attempt to organize a union. No labor unions in steel industry until the 1920’s.No labor unions in steel industry until the 1920’s. Carnegie would be remembered for events at Homestead. His public image sufferedHis public image suffered

26 Pullman Strike 1893, in Chicago Wages of employees cut without a decrease in living costs in the company town Action of Labor Union? Called Eugene V. Debs & the American Railway Union (ARU) Nationwide strike, halting railroad traffic

27 Strikes Rock the Nation Pullman, 1893 Eugene Debs instructed strikers not to interfere with the nation’s mail. Railway owners turned to the government for help. The judge cited the Sherman Antitrust Act and won a court order forbidding all union activity that halted railroad traffic. Court orders against unions continued, limiting union gains for the next 30 years.

28 Actions of Industry? Argued that the labor union was destroying free trade Actions of Government? President Grover Cleveland sends in federal troops; Eugene V. Debs is arrested Effect? Use of court system and military to limit power of labor unions

29 The Supreme Court Upholds Laissez-faire New York state passed the “Bakeshop Act” limiting the hours a bakery employee could work in one week to 60. Lochner, a bakery owner, was fined for allowing employees to exceed limitation. He sued protesting the constitutionality of the law under the 14 th Amendment and his liberty of contract. 14 th Amendmentliberty of contract Supreme Court overturned his conviction stating: …this law interfered "with the right of contract between the employer and employees.“ To the Court, the right to buy and sell labor through contract was a "liberty of the individual" protected under the 14th amendment. ► Lochner v. New York – 1905

30 Reaction of Employers Employers hated & feared unions. Why? -European influences of socialism -Labor strikes always tended to be violent. Some took steps to stop unions, such as: -forbidding union meetings -firing union organizers -forcing new employees to sign “yellow dog” contracts, making them promise never to join a union or participate in a strike -refusing to bargain collectively when strikes did occur -refusing to recognize unions as their workers’ legitimate representatives


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