Labor Unions Dbq

Topics: Strike action, 19th century, Gilded Age Pages: 2 (600 words) Published: March 17, 2013
Mackenzie Hutson
Schultz p.1
Labor Unions
Labor Unions like the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor were created to help workers of the 19th century but no one could predict labor unions to be so wayward. Labor unions failed to gain acceptance with the public because their erratic and unstable attempts to help the workers of American ended up doing more harm than good. Labor unions of the 19th century caused vendetta, damage, and violence among workers and business owners alike. The idiom ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ is a fair way to describe the labor unions and their shaky foundation of improving the working conditions of America. This primarily means that where there are too many people trying to do something, they make a mess of it. In Doc D, the cartoon depicted the nation’s view on “organized” labor. The accuracy of the cooks fighting over a pot of “labor interest broth” shows exactly how labor unions handled problems they were faced with. There were also many arguments on eligibility and work-ethic. The American Federation of Labor was a very tight group that did not allow women or blacks. This created a big controversy since the Knights of labor did. Another tiff was that over work ethic. The public viewed the AFL as slackers and believed they didn’t work as hard since they were the ones to suggest shorter work days and better wages as opposed to a reasonable 8-hour day and living wages proposed by the KOL. These disputes ultimately led up to the damage of the unions and their “good intentions”. The damage caused by the labor unions was far less violent than anticipated. Even though labor unions wanted safer working areas and good pay, it still reduced job opportunities and cost millions of dollars worth of property damage. Strikes were a popular way to get your word out while still being peaceful. Although most strikes ended in violence like the general strike in Baltimore (Doc E), they were intended to get the...
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