TRUSTS and MONOPOLIES
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Slide 1 - INDUSTRIALISTSVS LABOR
- How did Americans fight for their rights?
Slide 3 - BACKGROUND ABOUT UNIONS
- Since the early days of the Industrial Revolution, factory workers had made attempts to organize. Most early efforts to form unions failed, however. Companies hired private security guards to attack strikers or union organizers. In addition, laws made it illegal for workers to go on strike. Still, workers continued their attempts to form unions, often in secret. Labor unions sought safer working conditions, higher wages and shorter hours.
- Because these big companies were new creations, the government didn’t know how or whether they should control them. Big business owners like John Rockefeller and Henry Ford were able to do what they pleased because the government wasn’t watching them. Additionally, because of all the recent immigration in the 1890s and early 1900s, factory owners had plenty of workers. In other words, if some workers complained about their working conditions, there were plenty others who could fill their positions.
Slide 6 - Leader of the factory workers striking about working conditions
- Hired by the factory owner to stop the strikers
- IMAGINE THAT YOU WERE IN THIS STRIKE AGAINST YOUR BOSS. IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WOULD WANT TO BE A PART OF?
- IF NOT, WHAT WOULD YOU D DIFFERENTLY?
Slide 8 - KNIGHTS OF LABOR
- In 1869, a group of Philadelphia clothing workers formed a union called the Knights of Labor. At first, the union was small and secret. Then, in 1879, the Knights of Labor elected Terrence Powderly as their President. Powderly quickly realized that the more workers involved in the union, the stronger they could be.
- Under Powderly, the Knights admitted women, African-Americans, immigrants and unskilled workers. No earlier labor union had included all workers. For a time, the Knights became the biggest union in the country. Additionally, Powderly used public speaking events instead of strikes in order to win support.
- Unions lost support by a series of violent labor strikes. One of the worst episodes occurred in Chicago. On May 4, 1886, striking workers gathered in Haymarket Square. Suddenly, a bomb exploded and killed seven policemen. Police sprayed the crowd with bullets. As a result, labor unions lost support with the general public. The Knights of Labor lost much of their influence as a result of this violence.
Slide 11 - RISE OF THE A.F.L.
- In 1886, the year of the Haymarket Riot, Samuel Gompers formed a new union in Columbus, Ohio. It was called the American Federation of Labor, or AFL. The AFL soon replaced the Knights of Labor as the leading union in the country.
- Unlike the Knights of Labor, the AFL admitted only skilled workers. Gompers argued that only educated and skilled workers could create a powerful union because these workers weren’t easily replaced. He also believed that it was most effective to negotiate, not strike. Gompers only believed in striking as a last resort.
- This practical approach worked well. By 1904, the AFL had grown to more than a million members. But, because African-Americans and immigrants weren’t allowed to join, the AFL still included only a tiny part of American workers.