Organized Labor Movement

1048 WordsSep 8, 20135 Pages
DBQ: Organized Labor Movement By 1900, the United States had become the number one industrial power in the world. One factor that allowed the country to climb to its prime position was its abundant labor supply, largely composed of immigrants who had arrived between 1865 and 1900. However, the spot came at a cost; laborers were working long hours for low wages under poor conditions for the dominating monopolies of the time. Hoping to better these undesirable situations, multiple labor unions would form in the last half of the nineteenth century. Despite the continual efforts of these organizations little change was experienced from 1875 to 1900 due to disharmony among those competing to represent the laborer, the long-standing negative…show more content…
It was thought by the general public that the laborers were attempting to destroy the very hand that was feeding them, and with it the economy, as depicted in one of Nast’s famous political cartoons. 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
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