WIth the power going to their head, their attitude reflected their beliefs that employers were on a higher level that their workers in every way. So they had a strong distaste towards their employees banning together against them because they were challenging their superiority.Many employers gave them an ultimatum, either you sign a contract similar to the Western Union Telegraph Company’s, promising you wouldn’t have any affiliation with the unions, or you lost your job (Document E). In 1883, in a testimony before the Senate Committee on Labor and Capital, a machinist said that "100 men are able to do now what it took 300 or 400 men to do fifteen years ago" in trying to explain his insignificance to the company he worked for (Document D). Due to the fact that they indeed did not necessarily need as many men as they did in the past, employers had no problem firing them if their protests went too
Labor Unions: Aging Dinosaur or Sleeping Giant? The Labor Movement and Unionism Background and Brief History Higher wages! Shorter workdays! Better working conditions! These famous words echoed throughout the United States beginning in “1790 with the skilled craftsmen” (Dessler, 1997, p. 544). For the last two-hundred years, workers of all trades have been fighting for their rights and “seeking methods of improving their living standards, working conditions, and job security” (Boone, 1996,p.287). As time went by, these individuals came to the conclusion that if they work together collectively, they would grow stronger to get responses to their demands. This inspired into what we know today as labor unions. “A labor union
Despite being able to cause a small improvement in workers’ pay and hours, labor unions ultimately died out by the 1900s due to their methods. Unable to truly focus on the plight of skilled workers, most labor unions instead focused on that of unskilled workers, pushing aside the skilled workers. (Doc D). The actions of labor unions ended up being counterproductive, forcing companies to wage war against the labor unions. These stricter contracts such as that of Western Union Telegraph Company, forced workers to affiliate themselves against labor unions. (Doc E) One important thing to note is that the workers’ rights advocates were never able to coincide on one factor. As evidenced in an illustration in 1887, labor unions had to compete with other movements such as socialism, anarchism, and other labor unions. (Doc F). Because of this, the media, although recognizing the labor union movement, began viewing the labor unions as dangerous entities. Although the initial strikes such as the Wabash strike were successful, the ones that followed proved detrimental to the movement, and caused the steady decline of the labor unions. Because some of the strikes were dangerous, many strikes resulted in the deaths of those involved, such as the Homestead Crisis, and Pinkerton (Doc G). Combined with events such as the Wildcat strike, Haymarket strike, the Pullman Strike, the public began to associate a negative
The movement in organized labor from 1875 to 1900 to improve the position of workers was unsuccessful because of the inherent weaknesses of unions and the failures of their strikes, the negative public attitudes toward organized labor, widespread government corruption, and the tendency of government to side with big business. After the Civil there was a push to industrialize quickly, and the rushed industrialization was at the expense of the workers as it led to bigger profits for big business and atrocious working conditions for them; conditions that included long working hours, extremely low wages, and the exploitation of children and immigrants.
Labor union were crucial in the late 1800’s when the workers were working long hours, doing hard work, without any extra pay. Job security (could be fired at any given time) and safety precautions did not exist in this era, jobs in this day was typically a threat to the workers due to the bad working conditions. When the union was formed in 1866 it was not easy, but if the workers understood how it would benefit them it would have been a greater successes. Due to lack of education, the communication between the union and the works was broken. Some of the religious beliefs created a hardship on getting the union passed. One of the unions called the AFL (American Federation of Labor) was created in 1881 that would try to fight for workers’ rights.
The Pullman Strike of 1894 was the first national strike in American history and it came about during a period of unrest with labor unions and controversy regarding the role of government in business.5 The strike officially started when employees organized and went to their supervisors to ask for a lowered rent and were refused.5 The strike had many different causes. For example, workers wanted higher wages and fewer working hours, but the companies would not give it to them; and the workers wanted better, more affordable living quarters, but the companies would not offer that to them either. These different causes created an interesting and controversial end to the Pullman strike. Because of this, questions were raised about the strike
The labor relations movement has been one of the most successful driving forces behind such efforts as: providing aid to workers who were injured or retired, better health benefits and to stop the practice of child labor in the workforce. Ostensibly, unions in the United States arose out of the need to better protect the “common interests” of laborers. Today, many of the social movements and alliances forged are created under the guise to better protect the employer from a plethora of interests made against the organization, rather than, increasing wages, improving reasonable employment hours and/or enhancing work conditions.
The Pullman Strike of 1894 was the first national strike in United States history. George Pullman of Pullman Rail Cars founded the town of Pullman as a place where his workers could live. A problem arose
adamantly opposed any recognition of the union. Thus, the union members decided to strike over wages, safety
Throughout American history, labor unions have served to facilitate mediation between workers and employers. Workers seek to negotiate with employers for more control over their labor and its fruits. “A labor union can best be defined as an organization that exists for the purpose of representing its members to their employers regarding wages and terms and conditions of employment” (Hunter). Labor unions’ principal objectives are to increase wages, shorten work days, achieve greater benefits, and improve working conditions. Despite these goals, the early years of union formation were characterized by difficulties (Hunter).
The main factor contributing to the failure of labor unions was choices the unions made in their actions. Two newspapers called The Alarm, and The Arbeiter-Zeitung both published articles in 1886. In the article The Arbeiter-Zeitung it says “To arms!” “To arms!”. (Schwab). This showed that the workers needed to stand up for what they wanted, even if it meant becoming truculent. This fortifies that the failure of the labor unions was coming from their ideas and tactics. Violence was never necessary; they could have went about it in a much different manner that was more placid. Next is a piece of evidence that was published in the New York Times on July 08, 1892. In the document it states that it was “names of those killed yesterday” (New York Times). It was a list that was
The words chosen by the writer suggests that they do not agree with the actions of the labor unions. Other times, the newspapers would associate them with violence. During the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, Charles M. Dollar Along with seeing labor movements as radical, many labor movements were labeled socialist by the media. In the cartoon in Document C, the labor movement is shown to be influenced by socialist controls. Considering the generally negative connotation that came with communism in the United States, when newspapers like Harper’s Weekly labeled organized labor as socialist, many people developed a negative attitude towards organized labor. The disapproval of organized labor was not exclusive to the American public but also the federal government. During the late 20th century, the Supreme Court became increasingly conservative on the issue of organized labor. In the Supreme Court case In re Debs, the court ruled that federal government controlled interstate commerce and was obligated to keep the railroads from obstructions and in that specific case, strikes or protests. The fact that a good portion of the American public and the federal government saw organized labor as a detriment; it was no surprise that organized labor
Disharmony among unions, violence created by the laborers, and the negative perceptions and associations gained by those actions were not the only crippling factors; the outside forces of the employer and government also proved to be detrimental to the labor movement. In the case of the Homestead Strike, which was caused by Henry Clay Frick’s nearly twenty percent cut in wages in 1892, Pinkerton detectives were hired to put an end to the development that arose. However, Frick’s arriving guests were met by his striking employees, resulting in multiple deaths (Document G); despite this attempt of resistance, the strike ended after five months, creating a huge setback in the steel industries’ labor movements. Frick’s tactics were not uncommon; other popular weapons employers used included lockouts, closing a particular factory before a suspected movement was put together; blacklists, which included the names of workers who were associated with unions and would be passed about employers; and yellow-dog contracts, which prevented employees from joining unions while they were working for a company (Document E). One particular tactic was secured by a Supreme Court case in 1895, In re Debs, which was a result of
Workers would not be able to successfully accomplish the established goals without the help of the union.
This brief history of more than 100 years of the modern trade union movement in the United States can only touch the high spots of activity and identify the principal trends of a "century of achievement." In such a condensation of history, episodes of importance and of great human drama must necessarily be discussed far too briefly, or in some cases relegated to a mere mention.