Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/51

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the Executive Council of the A. F. of L. to levy the assessment for their support in this strike. The Executive Council refused to do so. As a consequence, the United Mine Workers refused to strike on May 1. The barbers' union asked the convention of 1891 to be designated as the union to make the attempt in 1892. The matter was referred to the Executive Council of the A. F. of L., where it was buried, and no further attempt has since been made. The eight-hour movement was dead as far as the A. F. of L. was concerned.

165. Was not the A. F. of L. in favor of the shorter workday?
Actions speak louder than words, and are the test by which profession is gauged. It renders lip service to the idea, but, as an organization, does nothing to advance it. While it is recorded as having initiated the eight-hour strike in 1886, there is little question that this was very largely in the nature of an advertising stunt, for its affiliated unions embraced less than one-fourth of the then organized workers. Its annual receipts up to that time had never exceeded $700. It had an ambition to grow, and to do so, it was compelled to attract attention and membership. As a legislation-seeking body it had failed to impress the workers. So the 1884 convention considered two proposals: (1) a general strike for the eight-hour day on May 1, 1886, and, (2) that each affiliated union pledge two per cent of its total revenue toward creating a strike fund. This was an attempt to transform the A. F. of L. into a national economic organization. The strike proposal carried by a vote of 23 to 2. The strike fund proposition was referred to the affiliated unions. So few of these favored the idea that it came to naught. In 1888, as stated in the answer to the preceding question, a strike fund was again provided for in a modified form, but soon was abandoned.
166. If the A. F. of L. inaugurated the eight-hour strike in 1886, how came the K. of L. to be involved in it?
The shorter workday was of surpassing interest to all labor. The A. F. of L., with less than 50,000 members, could not hope, of and by itself, to make much of an impression. It therefore extended an invitation to the K. of L. to co-operate. This appeal was warmly received by the Knights. However, Powderly and his