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Labor and Management

Jones & Laughlin Steel Company sales agents

“No question at the present day is of greater interest to the public than that of the relations between employers and their working men,” states Jeremiah W. Jenks in his foreword to Analysis of the Interchurch World Movement Report on the Steel Strike. Before the establishment of modern regulations and legislation protecting workers, labor disputes and strikes developed into dramatic power struggles that sometimes involved lockouts, Pinkerton Detectives, hastily deputized citizens and violence. As a center of previously unseen industrial progress, Pittsburgh was often the epicenter of confrontations between the labor forces and management. Some of these conflicts, like the Homestead Strike of 1892, shaped the way the United States currently handles labor relations.

Because so many families depended on laborers’ pay, and because events in Pittsburgh set precedents and warnings for events across the country, the implications of labor relations extended beyond the city limits. In particular, the Homestead Strike, called “The Great Strike” held enormous significance. According to one account, the Homestead Strike “commanded the attention of every nation of the world and the outcome of was watched with such eager interest, not only by the participants, but by the rich and poor, high and low, the press, the lawmakers and even the powers of every continent.”

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