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Labor Unions

  • Indentured Servants vs. Slaves

    Indentured Servants vs. Slaves
    Indentured Servants were Europeans who were sold to higher classmen for work. They came to America by free will and for opportunities when they are free. That is the major difference between them and the slaves. Slaves had to buy their freedom, and they weren’t working for about 7 – 10 years, they were working for life. Slaves arrived around 1602 at Jamestown, VA; there the rapid of cheap labor kicked the indentured servants out of their jobs. They were not happy.
  • Child Labor

    Child Labor
    Children at young ages were put to work in the most hazardous places to help their families live. They worked in the mine shafts, mills, sold newspapers, factories, fishing ports, field and farmers work, being little salesmen, and others (shoe shining). If they get injured while working, the boss just brings in the next child waiting in line. They may work all day, but sadly, most of their money goes to ice cream vendors or other desirable things that catch their eyes more than family food.
  • Commonwealth vs. Hunt

    Commonwealth vs. Hunt
    The Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled that labor unions were not illegal conspiracies, instead, they were considered, “honorable and peaceful”. Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw ruled that unions had the right to strike and organize. The rights to strike were legal, unless the methods were considered to force workers to strike, then it was considered illegal.
  • Abolition of Slaves

    Abolition of Slaves
    After many years of riots, propagandas, etc, it all lead up to the Civil War. After the war between the North and the South, the slaves were considered free- not entirely. Even if they were free, some had no money to make a living, so they went back to their masters for work. Slaves were considered free when they received their rights- freedom (13th amendment), citizens (14th amendment), and voting rights (15th amendment). It took at least 3 official amendments to abolish slavery from America.
  • National Labor Union

    National Labor Union
    A union made up with the majority being white skilled and unskilled laborers, wanted to establish the eight- hour day, where workers could only work for eight hours a day. The government agreed to this; however, some companies lowered the worker’s wages. Why should they pay their workers more when they work less?
  • Colored National Labor Union

    Colored National Labor Union
    This was the black’s version to the National Labor Union, a union that was predominantly for white men. The Colored National Labor Union was founded to pursue equal representation in the workplace, but found it hard due to racism. It was because the majority of the whites were not willing to give them a chance because they didn’t want the blacks to be of higher or equal standards to them.
  • Noble Order of Knights of Labor

    Noble Order of Knights of Labor
    These knights were an organization filled with skilled and unskilled laborers. They stressed for better working conditions, better pay, eight hour workdays, and job safety. As the membership began to grow, so did the strikes against employers. This all started to fall apart after their bombing in Haymarket Square where the public resulted with them being associated with anarchists. As a result, the members slowly melted away.
  • Farmers' Alliance

    Farmers' Alliance
    A militant organization filled with southern and western farmers. They came together to break the grips of the railroads and manufacturers through cooperative buying and selling. Although this seemed like a good plan, it fell apart because the alliance ignored the dilemma of the other farmers: landless tenant farmers, sharecroppers, and farmworkers. However, a new political party did emerge later- the Populist Party.
  • Colored Farmers' National Alliance

    Colored Farmers' National Alliance
    An organization filled with colored farmers because they were excluded from the Farmer’s Alliance. Their economic goal was to overcome all the racial differences, and by the early 1890s, the membership numbered over than 250,000. However, because of the long history of racial differences, it was difficult for the white and black farmers to work together even if they were in the same organization.
  • Haymarket Square Riot

    Haymarket Square Riot
    A bomb that exploded in Chicago during a Union Labor Rally, created chaos! The highly supported Knights of Labor were campaigning for their 8- hour work day and Chicago workers joined the cause. However, because of the bombing and violence afterwards, the protest and rally were considered to be linked to anarchists, and the Knights of Labor ruined their reputation for their union.
  • American Federation of Labor formed

    American Federation of Labor formed
    Formed by Samuel Gompers, the AF of L was a federation. The AF of L wanted simple and pure unionism, better wages, work hours, and working conditions. It was solid, but narrow in foundation. It tried to speak to all workers, but they just didn’t have enough or any representatives.
  • "How the Other Half Lives" by Jacob Riis

    "How the Other Half Lives" by Jacob Riis
    Jacob A. Riss wrote the book, How the Other Half Lives to expose how the dirt, disease filled, human rookies lived in the New York slums. His book influenced the future New York City police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, who later closed down the police- run slum houses. Riss’ book focused on the entry of immigrants searching for new job opportunities, and how they were taken advantage of; the tenant’s housing being the major part in his book.
  • Homestead Strike

    Homestead Strike
    It was an industrial strike between the Carnegie Steel Company and AA (Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, where the AA protested because of pay cuts. Pinkerton detectives were called in to calm down the strike, but they were defeated. However, troops were later sent in to kill the strike, which called the strike to an end with surrender.
  • Pullman Strike

    Pullman Strike
    In Chicago, strikes against the Pullman Car Company were underway. Eugene V. Debs, a Socialist and president of the American Railroad Union, put in his support when the company fired their workers who went on strike, because they refused to accept the pay cut. He called upon his members in the American Railroad Union to stop operating any trains that used the Pullman Car. This turmoil ended when Governor John Peter Altgeld of Illinois and U.S. Attorney General Richard Olney sent in troops.
  • Coal Strike

    Coal Strike
    Miners, mostly illiterate workers, demanded a 20% raise in pay and nine hours of work. Winter arrived, and coal started to diminish, leading to factories, schools, even hospitals to shut down. When Roosevelt threatened to send in federal troops, the miners negotiated. Roosevelt made Congress create the Department of Commerce and Labor and the Bureau of Corporations. It was authorized to break up monopolies and to create an era of “trust- busting”.
  • Female Activists

    Female Activists
    National Women's Trade Union League(1903), National Consumers League(1899), Children’s Bureau(1912), and the Women's Bureau(1920), gave female reformers a stage to perform their social investigation and support. Campaigning for factory reforms was only a portion of what they did. Florence Kelley became in charge of inspecting and improving factory conditions; she also founded the National Consumers League, which advocated women to support laws that safeguard the women and children at work.
  • Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

    Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
    Also known as the “Wobblies” or “I Won’t Work”, they were against the AF of L’s policies. They would do industrial sabotage for no good reason. Most of them were victims of the dirtiest working conditions if the country. If they were ever caught, they were either beaten, arrested, or run out of town.
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

    The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
    Upton Sinclair wrote about the corruption of meatpacking industry in America. It was just like the book How the Other Half Lives, with its depiction on poverty, harsh conditions, filth and diseases, and sanitation. He appalled the public with his novel about the disguising unsanitary food products. It was because of him, Roosevelt asked Congress to pass the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act.
  • Muller vs. Oregon

    Muller vs. Oregon
    When a supervisor of Curt Muller’s Grand Laundry, asked one of his employees to work after hours, she complained to authorities, and Muller was fined ten dollars. They refused to pay it and took this all the way to the Supreme Court. However, the court found the law constitutional, and Muller lost. Progressive reformers applauded the decision for better working conditions and equal rights for the females; this would become a major argument in economic opportunity restrictions against women.
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

    Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
    At least 164 workers, most young females, died in the factory, when it caught on fire. Since the one fire escape was jammed, many either died by incineration or jumping out of the eight – nine story building. It was because of this tragedy, the public wanted to insure that work conditions and regulation in work hours were enforced to prevent this from happening again.
  • 18th Amendment and Volstead Act

    18th Amendment and Volstead Act
    The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the Anti- Saloon League wanted to pass “dry” laws, that would restrict, control, or even abolish alcohol. However, the urban cities were generally “wet” because of the immigrants’ vote from the Old World called for the free flow of wine and beer. Nevertheless, after WWI, almost all America went “dry”, and Demon Rum was temporarily prohibited.
  • National Recovery Administration (NRA)

    National Recovery Administration (NRA)
    The New Dealers put into action immediate relief with their long- range of recovery and reform. This was designed to assist industry, labor, and unemployed workers. They wanted to minimize wage, maximize hours, and restrict child labor. It was for their voluntary program that had the symbol was as a blue eagle.
  • CIO (Committee for Industrial Organization)

    CIO (Committee for Industrial Organization)
    Formed by John L. Lewis, he formed into the ranks of the AF of L. However, because of the failure of the Knights of Labor, the CIO organization received little sympathy for their cause. Their organization was made up of unskilled labors, especially blacks, and skilled labors, mostly white.
  • Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act)

    Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act)
    This act’s purpose was to reassert the right of labor in order to engage in self- organization and to bargain collectively through representation of their choice. This allowed for closed shops and outlawed any blacklisting. It was a real and huge milestone for the U.S. labor movement.
  • CIO breaks from the AF of L

    CIO breaks from the AF of L
    CIO changes its name to Congress for Industrial Organization after breaking away from the AF of L. They broke away due to many disputes and disagreements in opinions. The CIO were more radical than the conservative AF of L.
  • Taft-Hartley Act

    Taft-Hartley Act
    Republican controlled Congress after the New Deal gains in 1947, and passed this act over President Truman’s forceful veto. It was condemned as a “slave- labor law”. It outlawed all- union- “closed”- shops, held unions liable for damages that resulted for the jurisdictional disputes among each other, and required union leaders to take a noncommunist oath. This was one of several other obstacles that slowed down the growth of organized labor after WWII.
  • Child Labor Abolished

    Child Labor Abolished
    Lewis W. Hines’ photos on child labor caused reformers to gain more support from the public to stop children from working at such a young age and hazardous jobs. Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (Wages and Hours Bill), which ensured industries involved in interstate commerce would provide min. wages and max. work hours. Also, children under the age of 16 were forbidden to work any labor. That’s why children today are in school learning, rather than working unsafe jobs every day.
  • PATCO vs. Ronald Regan

    PATCO vs. Ronald Regan
    Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) declared a strike against the airport for better working conditions, better pay, and a 32-hour workweek. Ronald Regan told them to go back to work due to the Taft- Harley Act, yet only few workers did. The result of the other 11,345 workers- they got fired by the president himself and were banned from working from federal service for life! It took the FFA at least 3 years to find replacements and teach them how to become controllers.