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Repercussions of

Industrialization
Module 16 Part 3

The Rise and Fall of Labor Unions


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Problems of Workers in the Industrial Age


- Less value placed on skills
- Depersonalized relations with corporate employers,
- Technological unemployment
- Labor Market is glutted - IMMIGRANTS
- Begin looking to unions for help.
- Had difficulty organizing
- Extreme opposition from employers
- Courts and Police favored employers over workers.
- To many immigrant workers
- Several Major Labor Unions Form
- National Labor Union
- Knights of Labor
- American Federation of Labor

Cont.
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The National Labor Union


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Formed 1866 - 600,000 workers at height


General union with skilled & unskilled workers, and farmers
Sought social reform 8 hr. day
Get 8 hr. day for govt workers but 1870s depression destroys union
RR wage cuts in 1877 led to massive strikes, federal troops called in & violence
erodes support for unions among Americans

Cont.
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The Knights of Labor


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Led by Terence Powderly


Originally a secret organization
ALL workers welcome: unskilled and skilled
Recruited women & blacks
- Sought broad reforms:
- Health and safety codes
- 8 hour day; end to child labor, etc.
Cooperative ideas eventually workers would own factories
Used political activity first; preferred NOT to use strikes
- Successful strike against Goulds Wabash RR in 1885
- Association with anarchy & violence (Haymarket Square Riot) causes end of Knights
by 1890s

Cont.
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The American Federation of Labor


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Led by Samuel Gompers


- A CRAFT Union
- ONLY skilled workers - why?
- (better bargaining power)
- Kept out blacks and women
- Sought bread and butter reforms:
- Higher Wages
- Shorter Hours
- Better/safer working conditions
- Also sought closed shops (union workers only)
- Relied on economic pressure: walkouts, strikes and boycotts collective
bargaining

The Major Strikes


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The Great Railroad Strike of 1877


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The Great RR Strike of 1877


B&O - Cut Wages during a depression
Striking and violence spread: Employers called on the federal government for help.
President Hayes sent federal troops to restore order.

The Haymarket Square Riot


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On May 1, 1886, unions called for national strike in support of an 8 hour work day
Thousands of workers demonstrated in U.S. cities but Chicago was the center, with 40,000
demonstrators
After bomb thrown into crowd, police fired upon strikers killing an unknown number of workers
Several anarchist labor leaders arrested and tried and hanged without supporting evidence
Association between unions & violence leads to demise of Knights of Labor

The Lasting Impact of the SIR


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The SIR had several major lasting implications for the United States.
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As a whole, the standard of living rose for ALL Americans.


The United States will develop into the most powerful manufacturing economy in the
world.
Wealth will become increasingly concentrated at the top of the socio-economic scale.
- This contradicted the popular Horatio Alger myth that through honesty and hard
work anyone could become wealthy. Most Americans will remain poor.
The Middle Class will expand dramatically, increasing demands for services and further
creating a consumer culture in the United States.
The majority of Americans will work wage earning jobs, no longer owning businesses or
farms . Wages were low and many women and children would become important earners
for their families.