There the unskilled worker who merely tended

There were many difficulties during the labor movement of the 19th century. Many skilled workers found themselves replaced by machinery and the unskilled worker who merely tended the machines. Labor dissatisfaction was also brought on by not having any workers compensation insurance which left thousands ruined after workers got disabled on the job.In1866, an organization called the National Labor Union, fought for eight hour days, the abolition of slums, and the establishment of cooperatives. It frowned upon independent political action by labor groups. After the death of William Silvis, the NLU turned more to political activity.

In 1873, it was named the National Labor Reform Party after its trade-union aspect disappeared. The NLU died after an economic recession which left an open door for a more effective labor organization called the Knights of Labor.The Knights of Labor accepted almost everyone to membership. They did, however, exclude lawyers, bankers, stockholders, liquor dealers, and professional gamblers.

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The more wealthy. This labor group accepted men, women, black, and white members. The Knights wanted to share the wealth that the laborers created. The Knights were working in favor of all the workers and to make sure they were protected from the aggression of employers.  Members had to keep their membership a secret due to not being hired by certain industries. Churches also had some controversy over the Knights because they feared that the members might be taking a secret oath that would interfere with their religion.

The Knights did not want the use of strikes because up until the now, most strikes have been unsuccessful. The depression of the seventies had brought the loss of strength and a decrease in wages. There was lockouts, blacklisting’s, and workers signing contracts agreeing to not being part of a union. In 1886, unions that made it through the depression start seeing an increase in membership to nearly seven hundred thousand.

Although they had this success, that still would not end strikes as Powderly had promised. There was the Southwestern Strike of 1886 and also the bombing at Haymarket Square. Quite a few union members were striking for the eight hour day at McCormick Harvester plant in Chicago. That strike brought on beatings and gunshots from police. A day later, anarchists were having a protest meeting. Police had arrived on the scene to inform everyone to go home but before anyone could move, a bomb had exploded. Killing a police officer and wounding several others. Immediately, police opened up gunshots.

Ten people were killed and others were wounded. Some that were killed were policemen. In  1886, a new labor organization formed. The American Federation of Labor led by Samuel Gompers. His plan was to category workers according to craft. His goal was trade unionism and the AFL was only for skilled workers and not unskilled workers. By the end of the nineteenth century, AFL had 138,000 members while the Knights were decreasing in size and slowly got down to only being known in history.


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