May 22, 2010

United Steelworkers Founded

(Wikipedia) ... Early attempts to organize steelworkers encountered resistance, even violence. An example is the Homestead Strike. In 1889, after a strike at a mill in Homestead, Pennsylvania, the Carnegie Steel Company signed a contract with the workers. Three years later, however, the mill cut wages, triggering another strike. Management sent in 300 Pinkerton detectives to break the strike, resulting in a pitched battle on July 6, 1892, that left 10 dead and many wounded. Eventually, strikebreakers, backed by state militia, broke the strike, eliminating the early union from its mills.
The USW was established May 22, 1942, by a convention of representatives from the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers and the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, after almost six years of divisive struggles to create a new union of steelworkers. The drive to create this union included such violent incidents as the infamous Memorial Day, 1937, when Chicago policemen supporting the rival American Federation of Labor (AFL) fired on workers outside a Republic Steel mill and killed 10 men.
The founder and first president of the USW, Philip Murray, led the union through its first organizing drives and dangerous first decade, when the workers of USW went on strike several times to win concessions such as the right to bargain collectively with steel companies, higher wages, and paid vacations. Continued

Photos: 1. Bethlehem, PA 2. Steelton, PA 3. Sparrows Point, MD (Falmanac)