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The rise of organised labour, 1877 -90

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Includes unions, railroad strike, Labour knights, Haymarket bomb and the AFL
Joseph Chappell
Mind Map by Joseph Chappell, updated more than 1 year ago
Joseph Chappell
Created by Joseph Chappell over 6 years ago
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Resource summary

The rise of organised labour, 1877 -90
  1. Early Unions
    1. 1877: Union membership falls to 50,000
      1. Before 1877
        1. 1873: Economic depression makes millions unemployed
          1. 1866: National Labor Union formed with 60,000 workers and 77 delegates
            1. Focused on securing 8-hour-day
            2. 1872: Union membership peaks at 300,000
              1. Unions are sporadic and local Small craft unions
              2. Unions struggled to get the right to exist and be recognised by business owners
              3. National railroad Strike, 1877
                1. Key events
                  1. B&O Railroad company cut pay
                    1. Workers to strike
                      1. Other railroad workers and sypathisers from different industries join in
                        1. The striking workers mass to attack railroad yards.
                          1. This was worst in Pittsburgh
                            1. 5,000 workers fought 650 police troops and destroyed 500 cars, 104 locomotives and 39 buildings.
                              1. The military came to support the police and 25 people died as they opened fire on the crowd
                              2. The military restored but the damage was done.
                                1. Outcomes
                                  1. Desire for stronger unions
                                    1. The prevention of businesses labour suppression
                                      1. A shocked America and a terrified middle/upper class
                                        1. $10 million worth of damage done
                                    2. Felt they were in a power struggle against business and governemnt
                                    3. The issue of this being that it was the fourth in as many years
                                  2. Key people
                                    1. S.D. Cashman
                                      1. August 1877: released a call to arms encouraging the people to rise up against big bussinesses
                                      2. The owners of the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad company
                                    2. Knights of Labour
                                      1. Life cycle
                                        1. Formed in 1869
                                          1. Growth
                                            1. 1885: Wabash Railroad (part of the Southwest System) try to break a local union.
                                              1. Knights sympathy strike freezing the whole Southwest System and forcing Wabush to negotiate.
                                              2. By 1866: 750,000 members
                                              3. Decline
                                                1. By 1885: 10,000 members.
                                                  1. No united support meant most actions resulted in failure.
                                                    1. Haymarket bomb outrage was blamed on the Knights, destroying them
                                                    2. The organisation became all but extinct by 1882
                                                    3. Goals
                                                      1. 8-hour-days
                                                        1. Child labour restrictions
                                                          1. Initiative and referendum
                                                            1. Cooperative labour-management relations
                                                              1. Democratic enterprises
                                                            2. All races, genders, ethnicities and occupatons.
                                                            3. Haymarket Bomb Outrage
                                                              1. May 1886: McCormick Harvester Works
                                                                1. Battle between strikers vs strike breakers and police
                                                                  1. Several died and more were injured when police fired on the crowd
                                                                  2. Black International (formed 1881) anarchists call meeting in Haymarket Square.
                                                                    1. Though the meeting was peaceful, upon its conclusion one anarchist threw a bomb which killed a policeman and injured 60 people of whom 6 died.
                                                                      1. The public turned on the anarchists resulting in the execution of seven members in 1887
                                                                        1. Police retaliation ended in them firing into the crowd wounding hundreds, some fatally.
                                                                          1. As a result of the event, the 1886 8-hour movement failed and all but 15,000 people lost their labour gains.
                                                                            1. Existing organised labour was destroyed
                                                                      2. American Federation of Labor (AFL)
                                                                        1. Samuel Gompers founded AFL and was voted its first president (1896-1924)
                                                                          1. 1892: over 250,000 members
                                                                          2. Founded in 1885, the AFL was central to the labour movement after the fall of the Knights of Labor.
                                                                            1. 1892: over 250,000 members
                                                                            2. Policy: secure recognition and agreements with employers through collective bargaining and hard strikes.
                                                                              1. Aimed for higher wages and shorter hours
                                                                                1. Focused on higher wages and shorter workdays.
                                                                                  1. Non-interference policy with member unions
                                                                                  2. Was a federation of semi-independent craft associations
                                                                                    1. Only skilled white men
                                                                                      1. Taxed member unions to raise a strike fund and maintain a secretariat
                                                                                        1. Paid for a network of state federations which acted as central points for the member unions under the AFL
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