The Homestead Strike took place in Homestead which is in Pennsylvania. The main objective behind the war was no decrease of wages. It marked the strongest new conglomerate Carnegie Steel Company against the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers of the world’s powerful union. The Carnegie Steel Company was built by Andrew Carnegie which was one of the most profit-making steel business in US. The Homestead mill was Carnegie’s largest mill. The workers of the mill had bargained good wage rates and working rules for themselves. In 1889, a union of steelworkers had won a three year contract which was favourable to them. Andrew Carnegie had decided to break this group. As he was in Scotland during the time the contract was going to expire. He appointed Henry Clay Frick as the plant manager who demanded more production requirements and changes which the workers were reluctant to accept. He started cutting down the wages of the workers which was rejected by them. This antagonized him very much. He decided to lock the workers by building a wired fence on top of the project. This captivity was called as the Fort of Frick by the workers. He eventually started laying off workers out of the project.
Everyone was discharged on July 2. The union was limited to only talented tradesmen. This group of people represented less than thirty seven hundred workers who worked at the project. Rest of the people were eagerly waiting to support the strike. An advisory council was formed to direct the strike. This council soon captured almost all of the company town. On July 6, the manager had sent three hundred of his guards from Pinkerton. Upon the arrival of the guards by barge, they were attacked by nine thousand and more strikers. Most of the strikers were heavily armed. The gun battle lasted for an entire day after which the guards surrendered. Around six guards and eight strikers were killed while many other guards and strikers were seriously injured. The workers figured that it was the attempt to replace them with the guards. The mob along with their families attacked the project. There was massive firing taking place and a lot of life was lost. The workers finally surrendered. Many guards were beaten up by the crowd while they were on their way. The barges used by them to travel were burned. The guards were sent out of the town with the help of trains.
The chief executive officer was unable to gather local residents to fight against the strikers. Therefore, he asked the Governor Willam Stone to support him. He sent more than seven hundred military on July 12 to him for supporting him on the strike. Eventually, after the help and support from the military of the Governor the breakers of strike could manage to get the project running again. The firmness of Frick helped him win sympathy for all the strikers. Although all of it failed on his attempt to attack by Alexander Berkman as on July 23. The attack was not in favour of the strikers. The council had many strikers arrested for murder. They were charged for crime. Despite the fact that most of them were released after the consumption of the union’s money, energy and time, Carnegie Steel shifted to generate lower wages and longer hours.
In November, another group of people including around 2000 white workers were instigated against workers who were African American along with their families. There was massive gun firing in which several were wounded. However, even this riot came to an end. The workers surrendered their strike and one again applied for the jobs with an agreement to work for 12 hours a day even at low wages.
The cause of the striker’s decreased. The destiny of the strike was in the hands of the Governor who would send the National Guard. The supporters and strikers hoped that he would not do so. The Railroad Strike of 1877 created flashbacks, which cost the Pennsylvania $28000000 in their destroyed property of Pittsburgh. The cost was alone of the Railroad. All the hopes were killed.
The strike had lost all of its purpose and had ended in 1892. The Amalgamated Association destroyed virtually as it had not been organized properly. There were several other internal faults in their trade policies. The huge gap of the actual wages and the wages that were expected by the workers was seen to increase over several years in the past.There was a song which was dedicated to this strike named “Father was Killed by the Pinkerton Men”. The Homestead Strike was an inspiration to many workers. Even though the strike had caused a great loss, the workers post that generation tried adopting better survival strategies for their own good. It also highlighted how it is not easy for a group of people to strike against the power of government. It has leaved many scars which has been not possible to heal even after several generations.
A significant contribution in the technological innovation was made by Carnegie Steel towards the set up of open hearth mechanism. This innovation made steel making easier for the purpose of armour plate and structural beams. These were very expensive premium products. Further, the plant was focused on the continuous system of producing its products. The system installed by Carnegie had improved mechanism for handling material like hoists, buggies, over head cranes and charging machines. All this contributed to the increase in the pace of steelmaking. With the expansion of the mills there was an increase in the labour force.
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