Class Notes (806,856)
Canada (492,490)
LABRST 1A03 (334)
David Goutor (299)
Lecture 5

Labour Studies - Lecture 5 Notes.docx

6 Pages
Unlock Document

McMaster University
Labour Studies
David Goutor

Rise and Fall of the Knights of Labour (Part One) Different Kind of Organization  Knights wanted to mobilize workers not just about things going on in the workplace  When they get going they bring in people from all sorts of different places  Attract people who are interested in different kinds of organizations  Started as secret protestant organization  Most famous: Masons  Started in 1869 in Philadelphia Rise and Fall  Terence Powderly o Becomes president in 1879 o Changed organization o Was Catholic so did not want to be secret anymore o Under his leadership they become very open to almost all workers of different backgrounds o Under his leadership things start to grow in US and Canada o By 1884 people were starting to pay attention to Knights of Labour o Great Southwestern Railway Strike: Knights of Labour win and get a better deal for their workers (1885)  Great Upheaval o Win in 1885 leads to many more members o Membership could have doubled but had to turn people away because couldn’t keep track of all people wanting to sign up o Interest does not last that long o Not that good at tracking members o In total there were about 3 millions people who joined Knights of Labour at some time  Collapse o Membership  Broad and Flexible o If you worked, were interested in representing you o Not as strict/rigid as trade unions o Trade unions did not welcome workers from different trades o Knights wanted to organize as broadly as they can o Flexible: whatever works they are okay with  Mixed Assemblies o Basic units of organizing o A lot of assemblies were trade assemblies (lots of workers in one trade would form an assembly) o Mixed assemblies were workers from different trades  Small Town Organizing o Worked for small towns because would not have enough workers in a single trade to make assembly for that trade o Could make assembly out of all workers in town o Knights were successful in small and large areas o Made them even bigger threat because were not limited to one place, spreading very quickly and opening opportunities Ideals and Values  Humanity and Work o Most fundamental that all workers had in common was shared sense of humanity o Wanted humanity to be expressed on the job o Work was not degrading, not dehumanizing o Most of time called this “Brotherhood”: no matter what your background was the Knights were interested in organizing you o Allowed African American and Aboriginal people to join o Were not worried if were unskilled or skilled worker  Cooperation o Wanted a more cooperative society than competitive society o Did not want imperialism  Preserving Morality o Knights were big on insisting economic issues were moral issues o Ex. When workers are getting laid off because companies are making large profits, is that moral? o Big issues: who gets large amounts of open land in the West  Family o Family values was a cause of the left o Want to preserve family o Family is always apart: father away working, kids in school, mother at home o Portrayed employers who split up families as immoral (ex. employers who sent fathers away) o Adamant that family unit was foundation of society Protection of Women  Breadwinner’s Wage o Protection of women meant protecting them from having to work o Breadwinners wage: wage efficient enough to provide for the whole family without anyone else having to work o Knights said men should be able to make a Breadwinner’s wage to keep women and girls from having to work o Said that industrial workplaces are rough, nasty places that women are too delicate to work in  Organizing Woman o First willing to recognize that women were working and wanted to organize o Women wanted to join the Knights (Knights let them) o Allowing women to be full members in an organization was unusual o Allowed women to hold executive positions Rise and Fall of the Knights of Labour (Part Two) Movement Culture  Movement culture was defining aspect of Knights  Wanted to encourage broader questioning of basic social values  Knight leaders did not just see themselves as union leaders  Also saw themselves as social leaders/public intellectuals Methods  Cooperation o Wanted to start workers cooperatives o Conditions would be better in workplaces o In some cases this worked (especially garment, carpentry, blacksmithing) o In a lot of cases it did not (ex. larger industries)  Education o Education was important because trying to raise awareness and change minds o Mea
More Less

Related notes for LABRST 1A03

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.