What impact do you think this action had on those striking? Those who depended on the services of New York’s taxi drivers?
Based on the information you have available, do you see this as a just action? Why or why not?
Growing size and profit of large corporations was not translating into higher wages or better working conditions for most workers.
Instead of Lincoln’s dream of a dynamic free-labor economy, growing concentration of wealth made social mobility more difficult than ever
Reinforced through “terraced” hierarchy of labor according to race, sex, national origin, and social class
Popular view by the 1884 when Cleveland was elected president was that the Democrats would advocate for better treatment for workers and challenge power of the trusts. But words and actions tell different story:
Supported misleading legislation that bolstered strength of railroad companies; vetoed bill supporting farmers during drought because it “encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.”
After defeat and subsequent comeback in 1892, Andrew Carnegie said of Cleveland: “I am very sorry for President Harrison, but I cannot see that our interests are going to affected one way or the other by the change in administration.”
Best alternative was not to rely on the state but for workers to organize themselves
But how to organize? By skill set? By trade? Should non-whites be allowed to participate? What linkages – if any – should unions have with political ideologies/parties (anarchists, socialists, or the major political parties).
Early U.S. labor activism:
Task 1: Read:
Read the following brief descriptions of early labor organizations in the United States.
Task 2: Chart:
In your own words, draw on information from the passages to complete the three-way Venn Diagram handout. As you do so, consider:
Task 3: Discuss:
Who belonged to these organizations?
What strategies did each organization employ to advance their aims?
If you had been a working-class American at this time (1870-1910s), which of these organizations would have most appealed to you? Why?