Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/47

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sembly of the K. of L., and the highest representative body in the K. of L. remained voiceless while its bravest were being done to death.

156. Why did Powderly act so?
Only Powderly and his connections know. When the K. of L. decided upon the May 1st eight-hour day strike, Powderly sent a secret letter to his lieutenant throwing cold water upon the idea. Later, Powderly got a Federal job. There may be some connection between that job and his acts relating to the eight-hour strike and the Haymarket K. of L. men. Quien Sabe?
157. Did the K. of L. decline because of the Haymarket affair?
On the contrary it grew rapidly; but within a year it begin to decline. This was due in part to the hostility of the A. F. of L., but principally to inherent defects in the structure of the organization itself. Each district was autonomous. As a result three important lockouts in 1886 proved demoralizing. The K. of L. Laundry workers at Troy, N. Y., numbering about 3,000 were locked out; 12,000 of their fellow workers joined them by walking out. After five weeks the General Secretary of the K. of L., Hayes, accepted the manufacturers' terms and called the strike off. In Amsterdam and Cohoes, N. Y., District Assembly 104 pulled 20,000 knit goods workers out on strike. On October 16, 1886 the manufacturers locked out the K. of L. This dispute is said to have arisen out of the promotion of an apprentice to operate a new machine. After five months, in May 1887 the strike was called off.
In the Chicago packing houses the packers decided to restore the ten-hour day on October 11. They refused to negotiate and blacklisted the Knights. On November 10th, the packing bosses had decided to rescind the blacklist, when a telegram was received from Powderly declaring the strike off. This gave the Knights a black eye. Powderly's secret circular in the eight-hour strike; his refusal to allow the Order to plead for Parsons and his fellows; his telegram on this occasion, at the time when these eight men were awaiting their fate, makes it appear that Powderly was serving some interest other than the workers.
The strike of the Coal Handlers and Longshoremen in New York on Jan. 1, 1887, which spread to include