- 152. Was the K. of L. involved in many strikes?
- The history of the K. of L. is a series of strikes. Many of its local assemblies were involved in the great railroad strikes of 1877. There were numerous strikes into which the order was precipitated until the great telegraphers' strike of 1883. The telegraphers struck against the Western Union Company for a six day week, an eight hour day shift, seven-hour night shift, and 15 per cent increase in wages. The strike was lost after lasting one month, from June 19 to about the end of July. In 1882 the New York Central freight handlers struck in New York city. This strike was broken in less than a month. A strike of Illinois coal mine workers (Dist. Ass. 33) was defeated, and the mine workers quit the K. of L. New York street car men's Knights of Labor Assembly was rooted out by labor spies.
- Some of the strikes were won by the K. of L.: One was the general strike in the Saginaw Valley, Mich., (1885); (this was a spontaneous strike by the workmen who were largely Polish. It lasted about six weeks). The strike of the Union Pacific shopmen, also a spontaneous strike to resist a wage cut of 10 per cent, was won in three days. A strike of the shopmen on the Gould system (Wabash and M. K. & T.), in the spring of 1884 which was supported by the engineers, firemen, conductors and brakemen, was also won. The Gould strike of 1885 was won, although the train crews refused to give the support they had given the preceding year. The Great 8-hour strike of May 1st, 1886, succeeded in winning the eight-hour day for thousands of workers. There were other strikes, but out of this strike grew the infamous Haymarket incident in Chicago.
- 153. What led up to, and what happened in the Haymarket?
- In response to the eight-hour strike call for May 1st, the turnout of Chicago workers was the largest of any city in the United States. Of the 80,000 Chicago workers who struck, 10,000 were lumber shovers. On May 3rd a contigent of these lumber shovers were holding a meeting force the McCormick reaper works, when a large force of police arrived and shot into the meeting, killing four persons and wounding many. August Spies who had addressed this meeting issued a call for a mass meeting in the Haymarket on May 4th to protest this