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Workers Organize The Labor Movement Effects of Industrialization More workers in the work force Loss of personal freedoms Gap grew between workers.

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Presentation on theme: "Workers Organize The Labor Movement Effects of Industrialization More workers in the work force Loss of personal freedoms Gap grew between workers."— Presentation transcript:



3 Workers Organize The Labor Movement
Effects of Industrialization More workers in the work force Loss of personal freedoms Gap grew between workers and employers Child Labor Sweatshops spread – homes used as factories

4 Unions & Their Activities
National Labor Union Made up of local unions Admitted women and blacks 1868 – Eight Hour day law passed for government workers Disbanded after the Depression of 1873 First Nationwide Strike B & O RR (Baltimore and Ohio) management cut wages and increased workday – workers organize the strike Federal Troops ordered in to break up strike Companies began to organize against unions Yellow-Dog Contracts implemented – new workers forced to sign a pledge NOT TO JOIN UNIONS Hired strikebreakers and new workers called Scabs

5 1882 New York freight handlers strike.

6 Early Conflict Knights of Labor
Organized in 1869 as an organization of individual workers, not unions – a secret organization Open to all producers – regardless of gender, race or skill Lawyers, Bankers, gamblers, and liquor dealers were excluded Arbitration – negotiation was preferred over striking 1879 Terence Powderly named its leader – ended its secrecy Cooperative labor where workers would own the means of production Haymarket Riot – 1886 – McCormick Reaper Works Albert Parson, August Spies, and Samuel Fielden argue in Chicago for an Eight-hour Day. Workers meet in the haymarket – an area where hay is bought and sold west of downtown – A bomb explodes and police open fire killing some policemen Parsons and Spies were arrested, convicted of the bombing and hanged. A total of four will be hanged, one will commit suicide and three will be pardoned. Public opinion turns against the Knights of Labor 1893 Governor of Illinois – John Peter Altgeld – investigates and then gives full pardons to remaining defendants

7 L to R Top – Albert Parson, Lucy Parsons, Samuel Fielden, August Spies, and Governor John Peter Altgeld


9 Riot at the McCormick Reaper Works May 3, 1886

10 Haymarket Memorial, 2004 Commissioned by the City of Chicago, The Illinois Federation of Labor History, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and the Chicago Department of Transportation. Bronze monument commemorating the 1886 Chicago Haymarket riot, an internationally significant and volatile event in the struggle between business, labor, and law enforcement.


12 Terence Powderly (center), Irish-born head of the Knights of Labor, which emerged as America's first large national union in the 1880s. Source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper


14 Des Plaines and Randolph


16 Haymarket Riot


18 Workers Unite American Federation of Labor Industrial Unions
Samuel Gompers organizes the AFL – a federation of Unions Only skilled workers were admitted Women and Blacks EXCLUDED Craft Unions developed for workers skilled in a particular craft – artisans AFL avoided political activity and used collective bargaining – representing all workers and negotiating a contract with management Interested in “Bread and Butter “ Issues like shorter hours and better pay Industrial Unions Organized all workers in the same industry Eugene V. Debs organized the American Railway Union ARU collapses when federal troops along with injunctions – court orders to stop their activity – are used to halt strikes 1905- Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) “Big Bill” Haywood

19 Samuel Gompers (below, left) – British born
Samuel Gompers (below, left) – British born. Thought that reduction in the work day “…would make him (the worker, a man) a better citizen, a better father, a better husband, a better man in general….strikes should be… the last means which workingmen resort to to protect themselves…against the greed of the employers. Eugene V. Debs (above and left - speaking) served as the vocal leader of the Socialist Party of America – Presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Party 1900 and the American Socialist Party 1904, 1908, 1912, 1920



22 Women in the Union Movement
1910 – Women made up 21% of the labor force Mary Harris Jones – Mother Jones – organized miner’s wives when there were strikes – Became active in the union movement when her Chicago dress shop burned – Known also for her “children’s march” on President T. Roosevelt’s Oyster Bay N.Y. home Pauline Newman – organized the Ladies’ Garment Workers Union



25 Why Early Labor Unions Failed
Language barriers between workers Temporary nature of work No “safety net” Management reluctance to recognize led to their desire to kill union organizing –” Yellow Dog Contracts”– strike breakers – “scabs” Blacklisting union “agitators” Military and Police action against unions Government often sided with Management in labor disputes





30 Dark cramped shops made exhausting work still more difficult and dangerous.  The end of a 10 or 12 hour day was only the beginning of a long walk or ride home to scant food and crowded rooms.

31 Unethical subcontractors took advantage of newly-arrived immigrants who needed a job badly, forcing them to work endless hours for the right to keep the job.  Supervisors watched workers continually, docking pay for arriving a few minutes late, talking, missing Sunday shifts, or taking too long in the rest room.  On the other hand, a 56-hour week might stretch to 70 hours without overtime pay.  Photo credit Lewis Hine

32 The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

33 Fire fighters arrived soon after the alarm was sounded but ladders only reached the 6th floor and pumps could not raise water to the highest floors of the 10-story building.  Still the fire was quickly controlled and was essentially extinguished in half an hour.  In this fire-proof building, 146 men, women, and children lost their lives and many others were seriously injured.



36 The tenth floor of the factory housed the offices of company executives, the switchboard, 40 garment pressers and the packing and shipping room.  After receiving a warning call from the 8th floor most were able to escape over the roof to the adjacent New York University building with the aid of faculty members and students.  Of the 70 people on that floor, all were saved but 1.




40 The plan of the factory 9th floor shows the layout of 75 foot long tables in relation to windows, elevators and stairs.  High ceilings figured into the space-per-person calculations allowing owners to employ 240 people in a relatively small floor space.  Aisles were blocked  by chairs and work baskets leaving open floor space so limited that it was necessary to climb over work tables to get to the exits. 

41 Labor unions, religious communities, political groups and social reform organizations assembled to mourn the lost lives and demand real progress in worker protection.  At times their differences in methods and priorities threatened to take back gains made in public awareness and the commitment to act.

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