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Workers Organize.

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Presentation on theme: "Workers Organize."— Presentation transcript:

1 Workers Organize

2 Objectives To describe working conditions in the late 1800's
To trace the beginnings of the labor movement To evaluate union setbacks and significant strikes To describe the founding of the American Federation of Labor

3 1. Why were workers discontented with working conditions in the late 1800’s?
Business owners tried to run businesses as cheaply as possible and sacrificed workers’ safety or didn’t provide workers with the necessary equipment they needed. Workers were often paid very low wages. Many workers toiled in Sweatshops, which were places where workers labored long hours under poor conditions.


Workers routinely worked 6 or 7 days a week, had no vacations, no sick leave, and no compensation for injuries Injuries were common – In 1882, an average of 675 workers were killed PER WEEK on the job

6 Workers try to improve working conditions
Discontented workers joined together to improve their lives by forming labor unions-groups of workers that negotiated with business owners to obtain better wages and working conditions.

7 LABOR UNIONS EMERGE As conditions for laborers worsened, workers realized they needed to organize The first large-scale national organization of workers was the National Labor Union in 1866 The Colored National Labor Union followed

8 CRAFT UNIONS Craft Unions were unions of workers in a skilled trade
Samuel Gompers led the Cigar Makers’ International Union to join with other craft unions in 1886 Gompers became president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) He focused on collective bargaining to improve conditions, wages and hours

9 2. What was the Knights of labor?
The Knights of Labor was a Loose federation of workers from many different trades. Even women were allowed to join. They inspired many people to join their cause. The Knights of Labor allowed women and African Americans to join their union.

10 What were the affects of the depression of 1873 for workers?
Millions of workers took pay cuts, and about 1/5 lost their jobs. During the Panic of 1873 hundreds of banks closed.

11 3. What caused the Railroad Strike of 1877?
Two railroad strikes, one in 1877 and one in 1884-5, showed how angry workers could become. In 1877, The B & O Railroad declared a 10% wage cut for workers. Workers refused to run the trains. This was the first labor union strike in the U.S.

12 4. How did the Railroad Strike of 1877 end?
As the news spread of the strike, workers in many cities and in other industries joined in. This threw the country into turmoil. In several cities, state militia battled angry mobs. President Rutherford B. Hayes called out federal troops to end the strike. Dozens of people were killed.

13 STRIKES TURN VIOLENT Several strikes turned deadly in the late 19th century as workers and owners clashed The Great Strike of 1877: Workers for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad struck to protest wage cuts Other rail workers across the country struck in sympathy Federal troops were called in to end the strike

14 Why did business and government leaders fear labor unions?
Business leaders feared that labor unions would spread about socialism and anarchism.

15 5. What were the causes and affects of the Haymarket Affair?
In Chicago in 1886, the McCormick Harvester Company locked out striking union members and hired strikebreakers (scabs). On May 3, union members, strikebreakers, and police clashed. One union member was killed. Violence erupted as police moved in to end a protest held the next day. Police arrested hundreds of union leaders, socialists, and anarchists. Opposition to unions increased and the Knights of Labor lost power.

16 THE HAYMARKET AFFAIR Labor leaders continued to push for change – and on May 4, 1886, 3,000 people gathered at Chicago’s Haymarket Square to protest police treatment of striking workers A bomb exploded near the police line – killing 7 cops and several workers Radicals were rounded up and executed for the crime

17 The Haymarket Affair in Chicago

18 6. What caused the Homestead Strike of 1892? 7. What was the outcome?
Andrew Carnegie reduced wages at his steel mills in Homestead, PA, but the union refused to accept the cut. (6) The company locked out union workers and hired replacement workers or scabs. The company also hired 300 armed guards. The locked out workers gathered weapons, and a battle broke out and left 12 people dead. The Pennsylvania state militia began to escort the nonunion workers to the mills. After 4 months, the strike collapsed, breaking the union. (7)

19 THE HOMESTEAD STRIKE Even Andrew Carnegie could not escape a workers strike Conditions and wages were not satisfactory in his Steel plant in Pennsylvania and workers struck in 1892 Carnegie hired Pinkerton Detectives to guard the plant and allowed scabs to work Detectives and strikers clashed – 3 detectives and 9 strikers died The National guard restored order – workers returned to work

In 1880, George Pullman built a factory for manufacturing sleepers and other railroad cars in Illinois The nearby town Pullman built for his employees was modeled after early industrial European towns Pullman workers felt his puritanical town was too strict When he lowered wages but not rent – it led to a violent strike in 1894 THE TOWN GEORGE PULLMAN

21 8. What caused The Pullman Strike? 9. What was the outcome?
After the Pullman Company laid off thousands of workers and cut wages by 25%, the workers went on strike in the spring of Pullman also did not lower rent on company housing. (8) Eugene Debs (American Railroad Union) tried to settle dispute which turned violent Pullman hired scabs and fired the strikers – Federal troops were brought in by President Grover Cleveland to end the strike (9) Debs was jailed

22 The Pullman Company built luxury rail cars like the
one that carried President Lincoln’s body back to Illinois.

23 10. What methods did the American Federation of Labor use to win benefits?
It was a national organization of labor unions from many different trades. They focused on improving working conditions for workers by using strikes, boycotts, and negotiation.

The more powerful the unions became, the more employers came to fear them Employers often forbade union meetings and refused to recognize unions Employers forced new workers to sign “Yellow Dog Contracts,” swearing that they would never join a union Despite those efforts, the AFL had over 2 million members by 1914

25 WOMEN ORGANIZE Although women were barred from most unions, they did organize behind powerful leaders such as Mary Harris Jones She organized the United Mine Workers of America Mine workers gave her the nickname, “Mother Jones” Pauline Newman organized the International Ladies Garment Workers Union at the age of 16

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