Homestead Strike

From Academic Kids

The Homestead Strike was a labor confrontation lasting 143 days in 1892, one of the most serious in the history of the United States. It occurred in Homestead, Pennsylvania, between the National Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers of the United States and the Carnegie Steel Company.

Andrew Carnegie, who attempted to project a pro-labor image, left the country for a trip to Scotland before the strike occurred leaving the situation in the hands of Henry Clay Frick, who was well known to be staunchly anti-union.

The company attempted to cut the wages of the skilled steel workers; when the workers refused the pay cut, management locked the union out (therefore, the confrontation was actually a "lockout" by management and not a "strike" by workers).

Frick brought in thousands of strikebreakers to work the steel mills and Pinkerton agents to safeguard them.

The arrival (on the 6th of July) of a force of 300 hundred Pinkerton detectives from New York and Chicago resulted in a fight in which about 10 men were killed, and to restore order two brigades of the state militia were called out. In response to the fight between the striking workers and the Pinkertons, anarchist Alexander Berkman attempted to murder Henry Clay Frick. However, Frick was only wounded and the violent assault turned public opinion away from the striking workers. Afterwards the company successfully resumed operations without the union.

The skilled workers were replaced by unskilled, mostly immigrant laborers, and labor activism was infrequent in the Pittsburgh area steel mills for decades.

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