|Exploring the Web
History of the Labor Movement
1. Key People
Go to the Web site for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and look for “Birth of a federation: Mr. Gompers endeavors ‘not to build a bubble’”, an article published in the Monthly Labor Review, November 1981. Why is the event described in the article significant to the history of the labor movement?
The U.S. Department of Labor has a Labor Hall of Fame. Find the DOL Web site and comment on why you think the following people were chosen.
Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones, John L. Lewis, George Meany, Frances Perkins,
Terence V. Powderly, A. Philip Randolph, and Walter Reuther.
Locate Labor History on the Web made available by the AFL-CIO. Try your hand at Vital Pursuits which provides a different question on labor history each day.
2. Labor Unions
Locate the preambles to the constitutions of the Knights of Labor (Hint: Chicago Historical Society) and the Industrial Workers of the World (Hint: Culture link on the IWW Web site). Compare the structure and mission of the two groups. Who were the wobblies and what is the origin of the term?
3. The Pinkertons
What role did the Pinkerton Detective Agency play in labor relations in the 1880s? Find “The Strike at Homestead Mill: The Hated Men in Blue”, a Web account published by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
4. Pullman Strike
In the Illinois Labor History pages hosted by the Chicago-Kent College of Law Web site, read the Parable of Pullman. What events led up to the Pullman Strike?
See also the PBS Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer transcript on the “The Origins of Labor Day” and the discussion of the Pullman Strike.
5. Haymarket Riots
The Chicago Historical Society offers The Haymarket Digital Collection, composed of photographs and narrative related to the Haymarket Riots that occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886. Enter the Drama of Haymarket and read about the “sequence of events that ignited the Haymarket bomb.” Who were August Spies and Albert Parsons and what part did they play in the events leading up to the riots?