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Railroad Strike of 1886


RAILROAD STRIKE OF 1886. Although the railroads had agreed not to discriminate against union members, Jay Gould maneuvered to break the hold of the Knights of Labor. When the Texas and Pacific Railroad fired a unionist, the Knights called a general strike on 1 March 1886, demanding recognition and a minimum daily wage of $1.50. Federal troops intervened, and the demoralized strike ended on 3 May. Backed by the government, employer ruthlessness broke an early form of industrial unionism. However, union reappearance in the

1888 strike exacted a high price in public opinion and fostered the idea of arbitration.


Foner, Philip S. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 2. New York: International Publishers, 1972–1975.

Stromquist, Shelton. A Generation of Boomers: The Pattern of Railroad Labor Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.

Mark A.Lause

See alsoKnights of Labor ; Railroads ; Strikes .

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