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Labor Unions in America

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Labor Unions In America

The American Labor Movement of the nineteenth century developed as a result of the city-wide organizations that unhappy workers were establishing. These men and women were determined to receive the rights and privileges they deserved as citizens of a free country. They refused to be treated like slaves, and work under unbearable conditions any longer. Workers joined together and realized that a group is much more powerful than an individual when protesting against intimidating companies. Unions, coalitions of workers pursuing a common objective, began to form demanding only ten instead of twelve hours in a work day. Workers realized the importance of economic and legal protection against the powerful employers who took advantage of them.

The beginnings of the American Labor Movement started with the Industrial Revolution. Textile mills were the first factories built in the United States. Once factory systems began to grow, a demand for workers increased. They hired large amounts of young women and children who were expected to do the same work as men for less wages. New immigrants were also employed and called "free workers" because they were unskilled. These immigrants poured into cities, desperate for any kind of work.

The Haymarket Square incident took place nine years later in On May 1, 1886 many workers struck for shorter hours, this event is known as the Haymarket Square incident . A group of radicals and anarchists became involved in this campaign. Two days later, a death occurred from shooting during a riot in the McCormick Harvester plant in Chicago when police arrived and tangled in the chaos. On May 4, a bomb exploded in Haymarket Square during a meeting called to discuss the events of the preceding day. Nine people died, including eight police officers, and some sixty were wounded.

The next riots came in 1892, at Carnegie’s steel works in Homestead, Pennsylvania. The company hired three hundred Pinkerton

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