Homestead Strike Facts

Homestead Strike Facts
The Homestead Strike or Homestead Massacre was a labor dispute and strike that turned violent, beginning on July 1 and ending on November 20, 1892 in Homestead, Pennsylvania, which is near Pittsburgh. The dispute centered on a new contract between the workers of the Homestead Steel Works, who were represented by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AA), and the Carnegie Steel Company, which was owned by tycoon Andrew Carnegie. After successfully organizing at Homestead in 1889, the AA gained immense power and essentially controlled production at the facility. As a result, profits started to diminish and Carnegie hired anti-Union industrialist Henry Clay Frick to deal with the situation. Although Carnegie was himself not anti-Union and was against strike breakers, Frick took a hard stance in the collective bargaining discussions. On June 29, two days before the current collective bargaining agreement expired, Frick ordered a lockout. Unions across the country went on strike in solidarity with the AA and Frick in turn called in security agents from the Pinkerton Detective Agency. A battle between the AA and Pinkertons took place on July 6 that left seven strikers and three Pinkertons dead. The strike continued until late November before strikers gave up and crossed the line.
Interesting Homestead Strike Facts:
The primary sticking point in the negotiations was that Carnegie proposed a wage decrease.
The world was in the midst of the "Long Depression" in 1892, which was part of the reason why Carnegie proposed wage reductions.
Many of the strikers were Eastern European immigrants.
Hugh O'Donnell was one of the primary strike leaders. O'Donnell was charged with murder for his part in the July 6 battle, but was found not guilty by a jury. He worked as a reporter after the strike for a few years and then disappeared from the historical record in the early 1900s.
Frick planned to bring strike breakers, or scabs, into the facility on July 6. The Pinkertons were to provide protection, but the strikers had the factory surrounded, which led to the battle.
The factory was located on the Monongahela River, which is how the Pinkertons attempted to enter.
The fighting began at four am and lasted until nearly eleven am.
The strikers numbered nearly 7,000 and the Pinkertons were only 300, so they decided to surrender.
The Pennsylvania State Militia was dispatched to the site on July 12, opening the factory for the executives.
Strike breakers were brought in and the two sides then sued each other in court.
Public sympathy for the strike turned sour when an anarchist named Alexander Berkman unconnected with the strike attempted to assassinate Frick on July 23.
Overall the strike was a defeat for the AA, which saw its numbers decline in later years.


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