IWW Pamphlet
Early I.W.W. Pamphlet
Workers Try Domination to Solve Their Problems

  • Business owners were unwilling to accommodate to solve the workers' problems because there were plenty of workers to replace workers with problems.
  • Moving was often not a solution to workers' problems because it was often not possible or acceptable to many of them.


  • The advantage for workers of forming a union is to have a better chance of getting the employer to listen to the workers' requests.


  • When the cost of meeting the strikers' demands is less than the cost it will lose during the strike, a company is likely to give in to the demands of a union on strike.

Local Union Organization

  • People who were blacklisted were not able to find a job because employers gave their names to other employers.
  • Unions sometimes join together in strikes to gain more power.

Resistance to Unions

  • A yellow dog contract is a workers' promise to not join a union.
  • Three things workers realized about their attempts to gain power:
    a. Businesses will oppose all possibility for workers to gain power.
    b. Government will support business owners but not workers.
    c. Isolated local unions did not have power to be against owners or managers.

National Labor Unions

  • Two ways that unions tried to organize on a national level:
    a. Joining together to represent workers with same type of company.
    b. Including many different types of workers from across the nation.
  • Two ways the unions tried to gain power for the workers:
    a. Solving problems using accommodation by pressuring the government to make laws that helped workers.
    b. Continuing with their strikes to gain domination over employers.

Unions Working for Legislation

National Labor Union (NLU)

The NLU only lasted several years because it couldn't get any laws passed and help the workers get higher wages or better working conditions.

Knights of Labor

  • Some member of the Knights of Labor quit the union because the leader, Terrance Powderly, criticized the strikers.
  • A strike with over 1,400 workers in Chicago against the McCormick Harvester Company ruined the Knights of labor by killing many policemen.
  • An anarchist is someone who disagrees with all government systems and believes they cannot represent people.

Unions Using Strikes

The Molly Maguires

  • The Molly Maguires were union workers in a secret organization that was part of the Workingmen's Benevolent Association.

Pittsburgh Rail Strike

  • The Pittsburgh Rail Strike of 1877 was important because
    (1) it marked the first national strike by railroad workers;
    (2) the first use of federal troops to put down a union strike.
  • Workers on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad took over the rail yards and prevented trains from leaving when the company announced the 10% cut in the workers' wage.

American Federation of Labor (AFL)

  • Workers in sweatshops (factories that manufactured clothing) belonged to the AFL.

Homestead Steel strike

  • Workers at the Carnegie Homestead Steel Plant went on strike because a new manager broke the company's wage agreement with the workers and lowered their wages.
  • Their strike was not successful because the workers in Carnegie's other steel mills were not part of the union and they continued to produce steel and make profit for the company.
  • Pinkertons are private police hired by companies to guard the buildings and equipment.
  • National guard is the same as state militia.

Pullman strike

  • Workers decided to strike against the Pullman Car Company because it cut back the wages of its workers and refused to reduce rent for the workers' housing.
  • The effect of their strike caused the supporters from the American Railway Union to be arrested and the workers to gain nothing.

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

  • The IWW was different because it tried to organize unskilled workers while the AFL was limited to skilled workers.
  • It was hard for the IWW to organize its members because many of the workers were scattered across the West and had jobs that needed them to move from place to place.

Why Unions Had Limited Success

  • Unions were successful in solving the problems for only high skilled workers.
  • Unions helped other workers by pressuring businesses to improve wages and working conditions.
  • Many African Americans worked as strikebreakers because they were not allowed to join most unions.
  • Reasons why unions were not successful:
    a. Most workers did not belong to a union.
    b. Legislators did not pass laws that helped solve workers' problems.
    c. Courts supported big business owners.
  • Some workers didn't join a union because they believed that they had to take care of their own business.
  • The Supreme Court hurt unions by using the antitrust parts of the Act against them.

The Farmers Try Accommodation to Solve Their Problems

  • The democratic process is to work for influencing the government to pass new laws.
  • The farmers used the democratic process because farmers did not want to strike against big businesses but wanted them to meet their needs.

The democratic process

  • Two reasons why legislators might vote for a new law:
    a. Strong need from many people.
    b. Threat from many people that they won't vote for them at the next election unless the new law is passed.


  • A coalition is an organization with different groups that are cooperating to solve the same problem.
  • Coalitions are used when there aren't enough people in a group to influence the legislators.

Local level organization

  • Granges started because farmers wanted to start local organizations to organize and solve problems using the democratic process. Granges helped farmers to have social meetings for those who lived isolated from neighbors; to discuss and lecture on farming techniques and money management; and to offer libraries to get more information on how to be a better farmer.

State and regional level organization

  • Granges at the state and regional level organized to form loan agencies, marketing associations, and stores.
  • But, these Grange's efforts were not usually successful because they didn't have people with experience in running marketing and loan businesses.
  • Another way the Grange tried to help farmers to solve their problems was to get local and state politicians who would be supporters of farmers' interests elected.
  • Legislation sponsored by the Granges had little effect because:
    a. A state law that had been changed for the benefit of farmers did not apply to other states.
    b. Big businesses were able to get the courts to declare many of these states' laws illegal.
    c. The railroads simply ignored these state laws because there were no penalties written into the law.
  • Farmers stopped relying on the Granges as organizations to solve their problems because they realized that it was not effective in solving their problems.
  • An alliance is an agreement among two or more to cooperate.
  • Farmers again tried to organize at the state and regional level because of the worsening economy in 1883.
  • The Alliances were different because they were more aggressive than the Granges.

National level organization

  • Rural farmers and urban low-income workers, both white and African Americans were united and organized to form the coalition of the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union.

The Populist Party

  • The Populists wanted the government to control railroads and banks because it would lower transportation costs and interest rates.
  • Nonperishable crops are crops that can be kept for a long time, such as corn, wheat, and cotton.
  • Subtreasuries are large government warehouses to store nonperishable crops.
  • The Populists' idea for subtreasuries would make it unnecessary for farmers to accept low prices from distributors:
    a. The government paid the farmers 80% of the value of their nonperishable crops immediately to pay their loans without taking out a high interests loan.
    b. The government stored their crops until prices were higher before selling their crops.
  • The idea of direct election of senators supported the Populists to form a coalition with workers, consumers, and other people.

1892 presidential election

  • The success the Populist Party had in the 1892 elections:
    a. James Weaver, a selected candidate for President, received many votes though he lost.
    b. A dozen of their members were elected as the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan instead of President Cleveland in 1896 because many people blamed Cleveland for making the economy turn bad.
  • The Democrats' main proposal in the election of 1896 was to permit the unlimited production of silver coins.
  • The Populists had to make a choice of either supporting the Democrats who wanted to lower interest rates or continuing the Populists' ideas for the subtreasuries, the federal income tax, and the direct election of senators during the 1896 election.
  • Two reasons why support for the Populist Party decreased:
    a. Populists in the West and South couldn't agree on the direction of their party.
    b. Strong discrimination toward African Americans in the South during the 1890s.
  • Fewer people voted in the presidential elections after 1896 because many poor people became discouraged about using the democratic process as a problem-solving tool.