The 1892 lockout of workers at the Homestead, Pennsylvania steel mill after Andrew Carnegie refused to renew the union contract. Union supporters attacked the guards hired to close them out and protect the strikrbreakers who had been employed by the mill, but the National Guard soon suppressed this resistance and Homestead, like other steel plants, became a non-union mill.
An internal management structure adopted by many large, complex corporations that distinguished top executives from those responsible for day-to-day operations and departmentalized operations by function.
A business model in which a corporation controlled all aspects of production from raw materials to packaged products. “Robber barons” or industrial innovators such as Gustavus Swift and Andrew Carnegie pioneered this business form at the end of the Civil War.
A business concept invented in the late nineteenth century to pressure competitors force rivals to merge their companies into a conglomerate. John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil pioneered this business model.
A small group of associates that hold stock from a group of combined firms, managing them as a single entity. Trusts quickly evolved into other centralized business forms, but progressive critics continued to refer to giant firms like the United States Steel and Standard Oil as “trusts”.
The elimination of skilled labor under a new system of mechanized manufacturing, in which workers completed discrete, small-scale tasks rather than crafting an entire product.
A phrase coined by Henry Ford, who helped to invent a system of mass production of goods based on assembly of standardized parts. This system accompanied the continued des killing of industrial labor.
A system of organizing work developed by Frederick W. Taylor in the late nineteenth century. It was designed to coax maximum output from the individual worker, increase efficiency, and reduce production costs.
Chinese Exclusion Act
The 1882 law that barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States. It continued in effect until the 1940s.
Great Railroad Strike of 1877
A nationwide strike of thousands of railroad workers and labor allies, who protested the growing power of railroad corporations and the steep wage cuts imposed by railroad managers amid a severe economic depression [panic] that had begun in 1873.
Green-back Labor Party
A national political movement calling on the government to increase the money supply in order to assist borrowers and foster economic growth; “Greenbackers” also called for greater regulation of corporations and laws enforcing an eight-hour workday.
The argument that real economic wealth is created by workers who make their living by physical labor, such as farmers and craftsmen, and that merchants, lawyers, and bankers, and other middlemen unfairly gain their wealth from such “producers”.
Economic regulatory laws that passed in some midwestern states in the late 1870s, triggered by pressure from farmers and the Greenback-Labor Party.
Knights of Labor
The first mass labor organization created among America’s working class. Founded in 1869 and peaking in strength in the mid 1880s. The Knights of Labor attempted to bridge boundaries of ethnicity, gender, ideology, race, and occupation to build a “universal brotherhood” of all workers.
The advocacy of a stateless society achieved by revolutionary means. Feared for their views, anarchists become scapegoats for the 1886 Haymarket Square Bombings.
The May 4, 1886, conflict in Chicago in which both workers and policemen were killed or wounded during a labor demonstration called by local anarchists. The incident created a backlash against all labor organizations, including the Knights of Labor.
A rural movement founded in Texas during the depression of the 1870s that spread across the plains states and the South. The Farmers’ Alliance advocated cooperative stores and exchanges that would circumvent middlemen, and it called for greater government aid to farmers and a stricter regulation of railroads.
Interstate Commerce Act
An 1887 act that created the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), a federal regulatory agency designed to oversee the railroad industry and prevent collision and unfair rates.
A workplace in which a job seeker had to be a union member to gain employment. The closed shop was advocated by craft unions as a method of keeping out lower-wage workers and strengthening the unions’ bargaining position with employers.
American Federation of Labor
Organization created by Samuel Gompers in 1886 that coordinated the activities of craft unions and called for direct negotiation with employers in order to achieve benefits for skilled workers.
A Scottish-American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century; Captain of Industry.
Founded a meat packing empire in the Midwest during the late 19th century, over which he presided until his death; Captain of Industry; donated a lot of money to churches.
John D. Rockefeller
An American business magnate and philanthropist. He was a co-founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust; had a reputation for treating his employees fairly; Captain of Industry.
An American writer, politician and political economist, who was the most influential proponent of the land value tax and the value capture of land/natural resources rents, an idea known at the time as ‘Single-Tax’.
An Irish-American politician and labor union leader, best known as the head of the Knights of Labor in the late 1880s. A lawyer, he was elected mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania for six years.
The only woman to hold national office within the Knights of Labor, she brought attention to the conditions if working women through her involvement in the labor reform movement. She also furthered the progress of women’s rights during the late Reconstruction period.
An English-born, American cigar maker who became the first president of the American Federation of Labor and a key figure in American labor history; Captain of Industry.