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The Great Railroad Strike 1877 - Research Paper Example

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However, during the era of such transformation, there was a group that was left behind despite their emergence; these were the common…
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The Great Railroad Strike 1877
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Download file to see previous pages strike failed to a considerable level, but it evoked labour upheaval, social change, political mainstream and organization among the American labourers. The workers at Ohio and Baltimore railroad went on strike because their wages were reduced twice over the previous year. The striking workers refused to let the trains run until all the pay cut were returned to respective employees affected.1
Following the civil war, railway industry was the leading sector in industrial growth. The development of several railway lines was fuelled by the government grants and subsidies during 1870s, making the railroad become the largest commercial sector in USA. The Chicago Tribune termed it as “the very heart and life of the modern system of commercial existence.” As the expansion of the railway continued, their economic and political power grew dramatically. In contrast, the workers in the railroad industry lacked political as well as an economic power. An increasing influx of workers from Europe and rural areas to the city meant that labour supply surpassed demand. Since an individual worker was not considered as valuable commodity, several companies rarely had a good incentive to respond to the workers needs. In addition, there were little ideologies of solidarity among workers and labour unions were being viewed as criminal gang organizations. Some existing unions were unpopular with the public and were not able to execute their duties because they feared facing legal challenges.
The problem faced by some labour movement intensified in 1873 when economic panic erupted. The unemployment rate was at 25% and the value of an individual worker dropped considerably. Moreover, as the government continued cutting the wages, the unions and workers revolted and fought back. Railroad workers faced the harsh working environment and were not able to collectively respond to the persistent wage cut.
As corporations suffered consistently, reduced revenues and economic depression ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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