Causes Of Labor Unions In The Gilded Age

Submitted By theyankeesfan28
Words: 2595
Pages: 11

Labor Unions * AFL- skilled- Samuel Gompers- collective bargaining- fought for shorter workday and higher wages * KOL- unskilled- Terrence Powderly- rejected socialism and radicalism-promoted producers ethic of republicanism- advocated craft unionism, first large national union, led successful rail strike in 1885, 8 hour work day, restrictions on child labor, initiative and referendum (common citizens can vote on laws), more cooperative labor-management relations, * Eugene V Debs- socialist- IWW- Industrial Workers of the World * Union for railroad workers * Bread and Butter Unionism * Homestead Strike – lockout strike- against Carnegie Steel * Pullman Strike – between American Railway Union and railroads * Led by Debs- court injunction * Haymarket Riot- ends KOL * Farmer’s Southern Alliance * Government sides with businesses * The Gilded Age was a period of horrific labor violence, as industrialists and workers literally fought over control of the workplace * Workers organized the first large American labor unions during the Gilded Age * Employers were generally just as determined to stop unionization as workers were to organize unions, leading to frequent conflict * Constant strikes and violence eventually caused the middle class to become fed up with both union and businessmen * Key events: Railway Strike of 1877, Haymarket Riot of 1886, Homestead Strike of 1892, Pullman Strike of 1893 * The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 * Gilded Age conflicts between businesses and unions often turned violent * Great railroad strike of 1877 began period of serious industrial conflict * Railroad strike ended when federal troops attacked workers * harsh labor practices—fifteen-hour days, low wages, and extremely hazardous work conditions—as companies struggled to gain any advantage in the market. The life of a railroad operator was so dangerous that life insurance companies routinely refused to provide coverage—in fact, the first labor organizations among railroad workers were really insurance cooperatives, brotherhoods that provided funeral funds and life insurance to their short-lived members.

Government Regulation

* Sherman Anti-Trust Act- banned trusts and monopolies * Interstate Commerce Act- regulate railroad industry- required that railroads be reasonable and just- government could not fix specific rates- railroads publicize shipping rates * Pendleton Act – Chester A Arthur- standards for certain jobs * laissez-faire capitalism * the idea of government regulation of business; american industrialists appealed to this theory to justify their methods of doing business; even while they readily accepted the protection of high tariffs and federal subsidies * The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), created in 1887, was the federal government's first agency aimed at regulation; its purpose was simply to maintain "reasonable and just prices * Wabash vs Illinois- determined that only the federal government could regulate interstate commerce * Chinese Exclusion Act * (1882) Denied any additional Chinese laborers to enter the country while allowing students and merchants to immigrate. Stemmed from fear of Americans that their jobs would be taken. * The Jungle- Upton Sinclair- 1906- meat factories- results in Pure Food and Drug Act * bland-allision act 1878 * a compromise law; allowed only a limited coinage of between $2 million and $4 million in silver each month at the standard silver-to-gold ratio of 16 to 1.

Native Americans

* Dawes Severalty Act (1887) * an act that removed indian land from tribal possesion, redivided it, and distributed it among individual indian families. designed to break tribal mentalities and promote individualism. * Sitting Bull * The American Indian Sitting Bull (ca. 1834-1890), a Hunkpapa Sioux medicine man and chief,