Many years ago I had just joined the Teamsters union. At that time I had a conversation with my father in law, he was a negotiator for the American federation of teachers. I told him I did not like the us vs. them attitude that prevailed. There was no team spirit. He told me the companies were the ones who created that attitude, when it’s workers decided to join a union. He was right.
Though after a year on the picket line, I was eventually busted out of that union. I learned the value of organized labor. Robo had you lived in the past, I believe you would have been one of the company thugs noted in the following excerpts. Unions did not start the violence they were the victims of it. Now, no one seems to remember that. I do not mean this as an attack on your person, but it was those who thought like you who pulled the triggers. ☻
One of the first great strike waves of this country occurred on the Railways in 1877; in that strike, US federal troops repeatedly opened fire on strikers battling with the monopolistic railways, killing twelve people in Baltimore, killing twenty-five in Pittsburgh, and using troops throughout the country to break the strike. Local police in Pittsburgh had actually supported the strikers because public opinion so supported the strike, but President Hayes made sure federal troops were used to defend the railroad monopolies.
Possibly the most bloody attack on unionists was Ludlow, Colorado in 1913 where, J.D. Rockefeller and his Colorado Fuel and Iron Company had state militia and hired special deputies attack and try to crush coal miners there. Conflict ranged for months until the militia opened machine-fire on a tent city of mineworker’s family and then soaked tents in oil and put them to the torch. Women and children huddled in pits to escape the flames; in one, eleven children and two women were found burned to death at the hands of the militia.
Between 1870 and 1934, unions in America were also trying to grow as well, but the captains of industry and the wealthy waged a bitter war against workers who tried to organize into a union. The creation of the U.S. trade union movement was the most violent in the world as a result of the wars waged against workers trying to organize into unions during this time.
· 1892: Workers at Carnegie Steel Company protested wage cuts and are locked out. Homestead strike against Carnegie Steel where several workers lost their lives in the dispute.