Social Mvmts: The Labor Movement
In the U.S., the earliest free labor strike on record occurred In 1768 in New York, and workers have been struggling against the designs of industry ever…
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Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (before 1890s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1890s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1900s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1910s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1920s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1930s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1940s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1950s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1960s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1970s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1980s)
Raise the rent, lower the wages--and when workers strike, send in the troops. This failed capitalist utopia in 1890s Chicago turned into a case study in exploitation and greed Pullman, Illinois, in the late 19th century. The company town offered workers a home -- at the expense of labor exploitation and class division. "On May of 1894, thousands of workers went on strike without the support of a union and without a plan — what’s called a wildcat strike...
Immigrant miners in Illinois were soft-coal, deep-shaft miners who cut and loaded their daily quotas (as much as 5 tons) by hand. By the late 1890s, the Central Illinois coal miners were organized under the United Mine Workers (UMW) and had a strong democratic rank-and-file tradition. Prior to the Great War, the UMW supported strikes that protested harsh working conditions, sporadic shut-downs that threw miners out of work, and increasing mechanization. [Click to read more]
"The Great Railway Strikes--the first meat train leaving the Chicago stock-yards under escort of United States cavalry, July 16, 1894" This image represents the Pullman Strike (May 11, 1894–c. July 20, 1894), which was a widespread railroad strike and boycott that severely disrupted rail traffic in the Midwest of the United States. The federal government’s response to the unrest marked the first time that an injunction was used to break a strike... Artist: G.W. Peters
September 10, 1897: Striking immigrant anthracite coal miners raise an American flag and march on the still-open mine in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. They were met by the local sheriff and Coal and Iron Police deputies. The sheriff ordered the workers to disperse and the deputies opened fire, killing 19 and wounding as many as 49 others. All those killed in the Lattimer Massacre were shot in the back; the sheriff and 73 deputies were arrested, tried, and acquitted.
"This anarchist paper from Spokane is the limit. It says a working man can' get rich by saving his money. T'aint so. Here's a respectable paper. It says: everybody can be successful if he only makes up his mind. That's the dope." --------------------------------- On November 7, 1912, the famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) comic strip "Mr. Block" first appeared in print and featured a character with a wooden block head and no class consciousness. Artist: Ernest Riebe
Mechanics' Union of Trade Associations - formed nearby in 1827 as the first central labor council in the nation: recognized as the beginning of American labor movement. Represented workers as a class, not by craft. Advocated for ten-hour day: engaged in political activism and workers education. At the intersection of Chestnut Street and Bank Street — in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This image depicts the arrest of a "Molly Maguire, an Irish 19th-century secret society. The "Mollies," as they came to be known, expanded to the United States and were comprised of Irish-American and Irish immigrant coal miners in Pennsylvania. Source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, September 4, 1875
The Great Railroad Strike began in Martinsburg, West Virginia when the Baltimore & Ohio railroad company reduced wages for the second time that year. The strike spread to other states, and in response, state militias mobilized, resulting in several bloody clashes. At least 10 workers died in Cumberland, Maryland, July 14, 1877.
The Haymarket Affair refers to a bombing and labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after police killed one and injured several workers. An unknown person threw dynamite at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting. The initial bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians...
In 1920 area miners went on strike to gain recognition of UMWA. On May 19 of the same year, twelve Baldwin-Felts Agency guards came from Bluefield to evict the miners from company houses. As guards left town, they argued with town police chief Sid Hatfield and Mayor Testerman. Shooting of undetermined origins resulted in the deaths of two coal miners, seven agents, and the mayor. None of the 19 men indicted were convicted, Matewan, West Virginia, 2008. Photo credit: Brandon Ray Kirk
“Diseases & Crimes - Tree of All Evil” (1912), Nedeljkovich, Brashich, and Kuharich / IWW, Cleveland At the bottom, toward the right a man digs at a tree root, and the text behind him reads, "class-conscious workers, we have to destroy the cause of evil"
The “Bread and Roses Strike” of 1912 was triggered by a Progressive-era reform that backfired. State legislators had just reduced the maximum allowable working hours for women and children from 56 to 54 hours per week. When this reduction went into effect, workers quickly discovered that their pay had been cut proportionately and their jobs speeded up by the American Woolen Company and other firms. In this image, textile strikers confront Massachusetts militiamen durin