| Pennsylvania's growing industries
and the cheap laborers they employed made it a hotbed of
agitation and the site of some of labor's biggest strikes.
Many Pennsylvanians formed unions and went on to be leaders
of national labor unions. William Sylvis, from Indiana County,
was a founder of the Iron-Molders International Union and
went on to lead the National Labor Union in 1868-69. Uriah
Stephens of Philadelphia and Terence Powderly of Scranton
were leaders of the Knights of Labor, the most important
national union between 1871 and 1886. From the Civil War
until 1877 a secret group called the Molly Maguires was
powerful in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. The group
was sympathetic to Irish coal miners but was broken up by
a private anti-union police force in 1877. Unrest in the
coal mines continued and gave rise to the United Mine Workers
Union, a union that grew to incorporate all mine workers.
With the growth of labor unions came strikes. Pennsylvania
was a part of some of the most famous strikes in the history
of the nation, such as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877
and the Homestead Strike of 1892.
University of California, Santa Barbara
© Rickie Lazzerini, All Rights
This page may be freely linked to but may not be reproduced
in any form without prior written consent by the author.