All About Organized Labor

Essay by MegaCheata0527High School, 12th gradeA+, March 2006

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During the period of 1875 to 1900, organized labor went through both good and bad situations. Although it did succeed in creating sympathy from many communities, and ultimately did result in lesser hours and increased pay, it was not as successful as most would have hoped it to be. Organized labor was unsuccessful in improving its workers position due to the collapse of many labor unions, the ineffectiveness of strikes, and undisputed power that the employers had over their fellow workers.

A big problem that organized labor faced was their inability to effectively organize. To begin with, not nearly enough workers were truly involved to help out with the protests to make much of a difference anyways. Different groups, such as the Knights of Labor and the Socialists, died out due to their lack of unity in representing labor interests. So instead of working together to achieve the same goal, they separation is what ultimately lead to their demise.

The ineffectiveness of the strikes of labor unions was also a big factor in their failure. Although the strikes did eventually lead to the gradual increase in pay as well as the lessening of working hours, it did not come, as Samuel Gompers states, without "suffering and sacrifices." Strikes, such as the one at Haymarket Square in 1886 that killed off the Knights Of Labor, and Pullman's Strike in 1894 that led to the arrest of

Eugene Debs, weakened the image of the unions. One major strike, the Homestead Strike, led to the unnecessary deaths of many workers because of the possibility of a change in workers wages. Due to their failures, however, the workers did succeed somewhat in gaining sympathy from their communities.

Unions were also unsuccessful because of the control the employers had over their fellow workers. To...