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How do the Memorial Day Massacre and the UAW sit-down strikes compare - Essay Example

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This paper compares labor struggles in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as the Homestead Strikes, Haymarket Affair, 1902 Coal Strike, and Ludlow Massacre, and the Memorial Day Massacre and the UAW sit-down strikes. It assesses the changing role and effects of…
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How do the Memorial Day Massacre and the UAW sit-down strikes compare
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July 5, Labor Struggles in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries This paper compares labor struggles in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as the Homestead Strikes, Haymarket Affair, 1902 Coal Strike, and Ludlow Massacre, and the Memorial Day Massacre and the UAW sit-down strikes. It assesses the changing role and effects of organized labor on the economy and the relationship between labor organizations and the government and their companies. Organized labor did not get the recognition they needed during the nineteenth century, though they gained a little influence on the government, during the early twentieth century; however, the same violence erupted between the workers and the state/private police from the nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries.
During the nineteenth centuries, Homestead Strikes, Haymarket Affair, 1902 Coal Strike, and Ludlow Massacre occurred and showed that the companies and local government worked closely to stifle labor organizations’ freedom of speech and assembly. On May 1886, the workers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. in Chicago staged a strike, as they demanded a shorter work day. On May 3, police were used to defend strikebreakers and a fight took place; one person was killed and several others were injured. On May 4, some 20,000 demonstrators were expected to show up at Haymarket Square, but rain and cold lowered the numbers down to around 1,500. The gathering was nonviolent until a police official sent a dispersal unit. Someone threw a pipe bomb into the police ranks, which instantly killed four policemen and sixty civilians. The police fired back and killed several workers. The Homestead strikes featured a greater degree of violence, as the company used private militia to respond to workers on strike. In 1892, the Homestead lodges of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers and the Carnegie Steel Company, Limited conflicted during the negotiations for several months and what happened next was The Homestead Strike. Union and non-union workers united and supported their leader Hugh ODonnell. Henry Clay Frick from the company made arrangements with Pinkertons National Detective Agency of New York, so that 300 strike-breaking detectives, called the “Pinkertons,” would break the strike. Workers sounded alarms when the Pinkertons were seen. No one could say who started the gun shooting, but the detectives fired on the workers and wounded some of the latter. Six days after this, the National Guard of Pennsylvania arrived in Homestead, as ordered by Governor Robert E. Pattison. The company then threw off workers from company homes, arrested the workers several times to charge them with bail, and got them involved in expensive trials to break their spirits. The same private militia was used during the Ludlow Massacre and the 1902 Coal Strike also did not get the union recognition they fought for. The Rockefeller family had an armored car with a mounted machine gun to use against strikers. On April 20 of1914, the private militia shot anyone who mas moving in the camp. Furthermore, when the worker camps main organizer, Louis Tikas, arranged a meeting with Lieutenant Linderfelt (the officer in charge of the National Guard) to create a truce, Linderfelt hit Tikas and others fired the latter.
Police violence and collusion between the government and companies also transpired during the early twentieth century. During the Memorial Day, more than fifteen hundred strikers, family members and some supporters staged their demonstration peacefully. Some company police and the Chicago police, however, confronted the people. Some people threw rocks and the police fired at the people, as well as threw tear gas. Some escaped, but several died and many were wounded. The police did not suffer any death and wounds. The Memorial Day Massacre shared the same violence as the Railroad Strike of 1877 and the Haymarket affair. The UAW sit-down strikes also encountered riots with the police, where many were injured. Still, at the beginning of the twentieth century, organized labor became more powerful and they were able to get some of the conditions they worked for.
Organized labor is assessed as not becoming any more sympathetic to business interests, because they staged demonstrations, even when the economy would be affected. Nevertheless, their influence increased during the early twentieth century. These labor groups could not become sympathetic, because they were still fighting for fundamental rights of increase in labor and better working conditions. Since the companies and the states were not helping them, they resorted to strikes and sit-downs to get any form of positive response. Organized labor also increased in influence during the early twentieth century, as the government recognized some of these labor unions. They were able to generate more positive changes for the workers during the twentieth century, such as shorter work days and higher wages.
References
U.S. History. Haymarket Square Riot. Web. 4 July 2011 < http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h750.html>.
History.com. Sit-Down Strike Begins in Flint. Web. 4 July 2011 .
Marks, Rachel. Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902. Web. 4 July 2011
< http://www.stfrancis.edu/content/ba/ghkickul/stuwebs/btopics/
works/anthracitestrike.htm>. Read More
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