Big Business and Labor 1866-1955

  • NLU

    The National Labor Union was created in 1866 by WIlliam H. Sylvis. This organization linked existing unions and led to the legalization of 8-hour work days.
  • CNLU

    Colorado National Labor Union was founded in 1869. This organization worked for the same things the NLU did. African Americans were allowed and they had equal representatives in the workforce.
  • Knights of Labor

    Knights of Labor
    Created by Uriah Stephens this organization supported the 8-hour work day. Also, this organization supported equal pay for equal work. By getting their way, the Knights of Labor went on strike as a last resort and instead advocated arbitration.
  • The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

    The Great Railroad Strike of 1877
    This was the first major railroad strike. Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and San Fransisco workers were involved. Stones were thrown in Chicago and ten were killed by militia. Protestors burned the town and caused a riot.
  • American Federation on Labor

    American Federation on Labor
    The American Federation of Labor believed in collective bargaining and negotiation between representatives of labor and management to reach agreements on wages, hours, and work conditions. This organization used strikes as a major tactic of getting what they wanted.
  • Haymarket Affiar

    Haymarket Affiar
    A deadly confrontation between police and protestors in Haymarket square took place. During a public demonstration a bomb went off followed by open gunfire.
  • Homestead Strike

    Homestead Strike
    Henry Clay Frick cut wages of workers by 20%. His workers went on strike, Frick then closed down the mill and built a huge fence around it and hired 300 pinkerton guards to protect it. Guards were confronted by mob and there was a gun battle. 7 workers and 3 guards were killed.
  • American Railway Union

    American Railway Union
    This organization included all workers in a specific industry. Skilled and unskilled workers included, to fight for higher wages and less hours per work week.
  • Pullman Strike

    Pullman Strike
    Pullman cut wages for employess and didn't lower rent in company town. The American Railway Union refused to move trains with Pullman cars on them. Within a month 250,000 workers were on strike. The government made workers go back to work but they refused. Troops were sent to Chicago and opened fire on the protesters and killed 25 of them.
  • IWW

    Industrial Workers of the World was an organization of miners, lumberers, cannery and dock members, and African Americans to better the quality of human labor.
  • Uprising of 20,000

    Yiddish-speaking women went on an 11 week strike in the New York shirtwaist industry. This forced male leadership in "needle trades" AFL to revise entrenched prejudice against organizing women.
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

    Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
    A fire brokeout in the top floors of the shirtwaist factory. Firemen arrived on scene but their ladders were not tall enough to reach the top floors of the building. The owners had locked fire escaped exits prior to the fire. As a result 146 of the 500 young women working died.
  • CIO

    The Committee of Industrial Organizations organized industrial unions. Unskilled and skilled workers made up majority of the members and within 2 years, they gained recognition in steel and car industries.

    The American Ferderation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Labor merged. This created wide unions that represented all workers in a given industry.