Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/42

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

men, conductors and brakemen on the three grand trunk lines, into one solid body," and to strike simultaneously. The strike was to have been pulled on June 27, at noon. Forty men were dispatched from Pittsburgh to notify the various divisions. At the last moment division developed, and the whole plan fell through. Was this manipulated by agents of the railroads?

There were some desperate strikers in the railroad industry. All the strikes were lost. Had the trainmen's union been in existence, there would have been a different tale to tell, in all likelihood.
144. What is the next important labor development?
The Noble Order of the Knights of Labor, a secret organization formed in Philadelphia in December, 1869. It was originally a secret union of garment cutters, but admitted workers of every trade as "sojourners" without paying dues. These could not participate in matters pertaining to the trade.
By 1874 six assemblies of textile workers were formed. All of these were in Philadelphia. A District Assembly (No. 1) was formed in Philadelphia on Christmas Day, 1873, with affiliation of thirty-one local assemblies. From this time on the Order maintained a steady growth. It was fed from two sources: Locals of the defunct national unions joined it, and independent organizations threw their lot with it; miners' locals, machinists' and blacksmiths' locals, locals of the Knights of St. Crispin, the ship carpenters' and caulkers' locals joined it. It spread rapidly over Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, New York and New Jersey. The opposition of the Catholic church, and other influences forced it to come out into the open, and in 1878 it aimed at being a national labor body.
The Junior Sons of '76, another secret order with a political bent, which barred from membership a "professional person, practical politician, speculator, corporator or monopolist" unless admitted by a four-fifths vote, invited all existing labor organizations to attend a convention at Tyrone, Pa., in December, 1875. The Knights of Labor and the Social Democratic Party of North America were among the organizations accepting the invitation.