Labor in the 1800's

Topics: Strike action, Andrew Carnegie, Trade union Pages: 2 (483 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Labor in the Late 1800s Essay

Laborers in the late 1800’s worked in harsh conditions. Many companies and corporations went on strike and even resorted to violence in order to spread their point. These workers mostly worked for low wages, or felt that they weren’t being treated fair. With acts of crime, these laborers felt that they could get there message to the companies, but most of the companies retaliated with hiring national guards to settle the issue or just locking the workers out of the job. The reason that these strikes turned to violent riots started is because the workers were so dependent on their job for money to feed their family’s, they couldn’t outlast the companies in a “waiting” battle because they company owners and executives had enough money to support themselves as it is.

At Haymarket square, monuments were vandalized because of strikes, lockouts, and blacklisting. A bomb exploded, taking the lives of thirteen people. Is a taking eight human lives worth it to make a point that you are a strong striker? These angry workers showed no mercy during this riot at Haymarket, and the author expresses the true horror of the events that happened.

At Homestead, when owner Andrew Carnegie went on vacation to his homeland, problems arose. Henry Frick who was set in charge, was soon to be hated by the workforce at the Carnegie Steel Plant. This was because Frick reduced the wages, and built a fence 3 miles long and 12 feet high in order to keep the workers out to break the union. Problems heated up when Pinkerton Guards were hired to keep the union out of the factory while scab workers worked for low wages. Riots began, people died on both sides, and terror struck in Homestead, Pennsylvania.

In Pullman, Illinois, another issue over workers wages grew. The workers began to strike. The American Railway Union was formed by Eugene Debs, in order to increase the hard workers pay. This later resulted in a boycott, in which union...
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