¿Qué pasó con los trabajadores ferroviarios cuyos trabajos se volvieron superfluos?

¿Qué pasó con los trabajadores ferroviarios cuyos trabajos se volvieron superfluos?

A principios del siglo XX, la locomotora de vapor era la reina del transporte terrestre. La industria ferroviaria fue uno de los empleadores más grandes de los EE. UU., Y empleó a una gran cantidad de trabajadores para construir y mantener rieles, operar y reparar trenes, etc. Surgieron grandes empresas y pueblos enteros para satisfacer las necesidades de los ferrocarriles y sus trabajadores y pasajeros.

Pero desde entonces, los ferrocarriles estadounidenses han perdido casi todo su negocio de pasajeros y una parte significativa de su negocio de transporte de mercancías a carreteras o aerolíneas. Las tecnologías también han reducido la cantidad de mano de obra necesaria para mantener los trenes en funcionamiento. Las locomotoras de vapor fueron reemplazadas por locomotoras diesel que requerían tripulaciones más pequeñas, no tenían que detenerse para tomar agua, eran más flexibles operativamente y requerían mucho menos mantenimiento (este documental dice 1,000,000 millas entre revisiones importantes para diesel en comparación con 75,000 para vapor). En lugar de grandes equipos de bailarines gandy que mantenían las pistas con herramientas manuales, la maquinaria pesada permitió que menos trabajadores mantuvieran mucha más pista. Los servicios de pasajeros se redujeron drásticamente, especialmente los lujos como los coches cama y los coches comedor, que también requerían mucha mano de obra.

En general, podemos decir que los ferrocarriles pasaron de emplear un gran número de trabajadores manuales no calificados a un número menor de trabajadores más calificados (y al mismo tiempo, la demanda de transporte ferroviario disminuyó). Parece que podemos ver algo similar en un futuro cercano con tecnologías como los vehículos autónomos. Lo que me pregunto es ¿Qué pasó con los trabajadores del ferrocarril cuyos trabajos se volvieron superfluos?? ¿Las empresas ferroviarias o los sindicatos les dieron otros trabajos? ¿Recibieron pensiones? ¿O simplemente fueron despedidos y abandonados para buscar cualquier trabajo que pudieran? Si es así, ¿la mayoría de ellos encontró trabajo (y qué tipo de trabajo), o muchos cayeron en la pobreza? ¿Qué pasó con las ciudades que dependían de los ferrocarriles para su economía? ¿Hubo protestas o huelgas u otros conflictos causados ​​por estos cambios?

Editar para agregar algunas estadísticas: La página 15 de este documento enumera las estadísticas de empleo ferroviario 1890-1957 y esta página tiene 1947-2014. En la actualidad, hay menos personas empleadas por los ferrocarriles (solo 212.000) que incluso durante la Gran Depresión (991.000 en 1933). Entre 1951 y 1972, los ferrocarriles perdieron un promedio de 40.000 puestos de trabajo al año.


Experiencia americana

Cortesía: Archivos Nacionales

1769
El ingeniero mecánico escocés James Watt patenta su diseño para la primera máquina de vapor práctica, allanando el camino para la producción mecanizada de la Revolución Industrial.

1825
En Inglaterra, George Stephenson diseña la primera locomotora de ferrocarril del mundo. Basado en los años de experimentación de Stephenson con vehículos impulsados ​​por vapor (el primero de los cuales construyó en 1814), el Locomoción tira carbón en una pista de nueve millas.

1830
Peter Cooper termina la primera locomotora de vapor de Estados Unidos. los Tom Thumb transporta pasajeros y mercancías a lo largo de 13 millas de vías entre Baltimore y Ellicott's Mills, Maryland. A finales de año, existen rutas de locomotoras similares en Nueva York y Carolina del Sur.

1841
Los primeros colonos se trasladan hacia el oeste a través de las Grandes Llanuras del Norte en lo que se conocerá como el Camino de Oregón, que pronto será un conducto para la emigración.

1845
Asa Whitney presenta una resolución en el Congreso que respalda la financiación de un ferrocarril al Pacífico. A pesar de seis años de campaña, el tema muere a medida que el creciente seccionalismo y el interés propio distraen a la legislatura. El ferrocarril sigue siendo un símbolo poderoso en la conciencia pública.

1848
Diciembre: El presidente saliente James K. Polk despierta un nuevo fervor por la expansión hacia el oeste al anunciar el descubrimiento de oro en el Territorio de Oregon.

1850
9 de septiembre: California, rica en oro, se convierte en el 31º estado admitido en la Unión.

1859
Junio: El descubrimiento de la enorme veta de Comstock atrae a los mineros a Virginia City, Nevada, en busca de oro y plata. La noticia revitaliza la economía minera de California e insta a la exploración de una carretera hacia el este a través de Sierra Nevada.

1860
Julio: El ingeniero y entusiasta Theodore Judah resuelve el gran enigma del Ferrocarril del Pacífico cuando llega a Donner Pass (llamado así por el desafortunado emigrante de 1846). Judah inmediatamente reconoce la ubicación como ideal para construir una línea a través de Sierra Nevada.

Noviembre: Judah conoce al comerciante de Sacramento, Collis P. Huntington, quien acepta invertir en su proyecto ferroviario. Huntington atrae a otros cuatro inversores: Mark Hopkins, James Bailey, Charles Crocker y Leland Stanford. Los seis hombres se organizan como la primera junta directiva de la Central Pacific Railroad Company.

1861
Octubre: Habiendo completado su estudio de Sierra Nevada, Judah regresa a Washington armado con mapas y perfiles para presionar por asignaciones para la Central Pacific Railroad Company.

1862
1 de julio: el Congreso aprueba y Lincoln firma el Pacific Railroad Bill. El documento respalda los esfuerzos de Central Pacific para construir la línea de California y, al mismo tiempo, contrata a una Union Pacific Railroad Company para construir al oeste desde el río Missouri. El proyecto de ley otorga a cada empresa 6,400 acres de tierra y $ 48,000 en bonos del gobierno por milla construida. No designa un punto de encuentro para las líneas.

1863
8 de enero: El gobernador de California recién elegido, Leland Stanford, quita la primera carga de tierra en la ceremonia de inauguración del Pacífico Central en Sacramento.

Verano: Las tensiones aumentan entre la junta del Pacífico Central en torno a cuestiones financieras y contractuales. Judah navega hacia el este en busca de nuevos inversores.

26 de octubre: El Pacífico Central lanza sus primeros rieles a los lazos.

30 de octubre: Thomas C. Durant, quien ha manipulado ilegalmente una participación mayoritaria en Union Pacific Railroad Company, es nombrado vicepresidente y gerente general del ferrocarril.

2 de noviembre: Enfermo en su viaje, Theodore Judah muere en la ciudad de Nueva York.

2 de diciembre: En una ceremonia de gala, Union Pacific comienza la construcción en Omaha, Nebraska, aunque pasa algún tiempo antes de que el ferrocarril llegue a alguna parte.

1864
1 de julio: mientras los cabilderos, entre ellos Durant, que reparte más de $ 400,000, distribuyen efectivo y bonos entre los legisladores, el Congreso aprueba una Ley de Ferrocarriles del Pacífico revisada. Duplica la concesión de tierras, cede todos los recursos naturales en la línea a los ferrocarriles y elimina las limitaciones sobre la propiedad de acciones individuales.

Octubre: Herbert M. Hoxie, compinche de Union Pacific, gana la licitación de construcción de Union Pacific y luego firma el contrato con la nueva empresa de Durant, Crédit Mobilier. La medida permite que Durant se pague a sí mismo por la construcción, generando ganancias gigantes sin supervisión del Congreso.

29 de noviembre: Masacre de Sand Creek. Los soldados de caballería liderados por el coronel John Chivington matan a 150 nativos americanos cheyenne y arapaho desarmados, la mayoría de los cuales son mujeres y niños.

1865
7 de enero: Los asaltantes Cheyenne, Arapaho y Sioux asolan la futura ciudad ferroviaria de Julesburg, Colorado, en represalia por Sand Creek. Destruyen el cable de telégrafo en Platte Valley, luego regresan y arrasan Julesburg hasta los cimientos.

20 de enero: el presidente Abraham Lincoln le pide al senador de Massachusetts Oakes Ames que ayude a administrar el ferrocarril Union Pacific. Ames pronto invierte en Crédit Mobilier y promueve sus intereses en Washington, D.C.

Finales de enero: el contratista Charles Crocker convence al capataz del Pacífico Central, James Harvey Strobridge, de que pruebe a los trabajadores chinos como un medio para expandir su fuerza laboral, que en este momento solo cuenta con unos pocos cientos de irlandeses.

9 de abril: Robert E. Lee se rinde a Ulysses S. Grant. Termina la Guerra Civil. Masas de soldados se desmovilizan, muchos de los cuales pronto se trasladarán al oeste. Union Pacific aún tiene que subir de nivel.

14 de abril: el presidente Lincoln es asesinado. Su cuerpo será transportado de regreso a Illinois en tren, en un carro Pullman especial.

10 de julio: con las actividades de Durant enfrentando un mayor escrutinio en D.C., los primeros rieles de la línea Union Pacific se clavan en Omaha.

Finales del verano: las cuadrillas del Pacífico Central comienzan el lento trabajo de perforar manualmente 12 túneles a través de Sierra Nevada, con un promedio de unas pocas pulgadas a través de la roca por día. A finales de año, aproximadamente 6.000 chinos trabajarán en los túneles y sus alrededores. Constituirán hasta el 80% de la plantilla durante todo el proyecto.

1866
Febrero: Al darse cuenta de la importancia de aumentar la producción, Durant contrata al general Jack Casement como jefe de construcción de Union Pacific. Casement pasa el invierno en Omaha, preparando los dormitorios rodantes que usarán sus tripulaciones el próximo año.

16 de abril: una explosión de nitroglicerina destruye la oficina de Wells Fargo en el centro de San Francisco.

Mayo: Durant contrata al general Grenville Dodge como ingeniero jefe de Union Pacific.

Julio: Los equipos de Casement agregan 60 millas de vías para llevar la línea Union Pacific a la marca de las 100 millas.

6 de octubre: Casement y sus tripulaciones pasan la línea 100 del meridiano en las praderas de Nebraska, garantizando así a Union Pacific el derecho irrevocable de continuar hacia el oeste, según lo estipulado en la Ley de Ferrocarriles del Pacífico. Durant lanza una gran "Excursión 100 al Meridiano" para huéspedes dignos, con una falsa emboscada de los Pawnee.

Noviembre: North Platte, Nebraska, se encuentra al final de la línea Union Pacific y pronto presenta una potente combinación de bares, prostitutas y delincuentes. Este conjunto y otros similares que siguen la presión del imperio hacia el oeste se denominan ciudades "Hell on Wheels".

21 de diciembre: Molesto por el aumento de la presencia militar en el valle del río Powder, el terreno de caza más sagrado y fértil que queda en su poder, un grupo de guerreros sioux atrae al engreído capitán William J. Fetterman y sus tropas a una emboscada mortal en el camino de Bozeman.

Cortesía: Biblioteca Pública de Denver, Colección de Historia Occidental F18110

1867
Invierno: el químico británico James Howden comienza a fabricar nitroglicerina en las montañas para el Pacífico central, eliminando los peligros de transportar el compuesto.

Mayo: Dirigidos por los hermanos Ames, los funcionarios del Crédit Mobilier destituyen a Durant de la presidencia de Union Pacific. Así comienza una oleada de acciones legales iniciadas por Durant contra Crédit Mobilier y Union Pacific, a pesar de que continúa ejerciendo un liderazgo nominal sobre ambas compañías.

25 de junio: El trabajo en la cumbre en las Sierras se detiene cuando los trabajadores chinos hacen huelga por mejores salarios y menos horas. Crocker y Strobridge cortaron la comida, los suministros y la comunicación con los campamentos chinos. Una semana después, los hombres volverán a trabajar con el mismo salario.

4 de julio: Dodge funda la ciudad de Cheyenne en el Territorio de Wyoming. Concebido como un punto de transferencia en la línea Union Pacific, contendrá la rotonda de la compañía y una estación militar. La empresa divide y vende lotes para fomentar el asentamiento de emigrantes. A finales de año, la población del asentamiento superará los 4.000 habitantes.

27 de agosto: un grupo de guerreros Cheyenne dobla los rieles y se detiene en Plum Creek, Nebraska. La destrucción resultante descarrila un tren de trabajo, que el grupo Cheyenne saquea y quema después de matar a su tripulación. El único superviviente escapa con el cuero cabelludo en la mano.

28 de agosto: Trabajadores del Pacífico Central atraviesan la roca del Túnel Summit, completando la más ardua de sus tareas en las montañas.

30 de noviembre: mientras los chinos siguen la pista, los directores del Pacífico Central encabezan una excursión ceremonial en tren al lado este de Sierra Nevada.

12 de diciembre: A pesar de las continuas luchas internas entre sus directores, Crédit Mobilier declara un dividendo sustancial en acciones. Oakes Ames se vuelve popular entre los legisladores ansiosos por obtener ganancias. Ames distribuye 190 acciones en Washington, 163 de las cuales van a 11 miembros del Congreso.

1868
16 de abril: la construcción de Union Pacific supera el punto más alto en ambas líneas: Sherman Summit, a una altura de 8.200 pies en las Montañas Rocosas. La carrera por la finalización y las propiedades territoriales está en marcha.

9 de mayo: Central Pacific vende sus primeros lotes en Reno, Nevada.

18 de junio: el primer tren de pasajeros cruza las Sierras hacia Reno.

Agosto: El líder mormón Brigham Young proporciona a Stanford obreros mormones para el trabajo de clasificación del Pacífico Central a través del desierto de Utah.

29 de octubre: Los ciudadanos hartos de Laramie, Wyoming, forman un Comité de Vigilancia para combatir el elemento anárquico de la ciudad. Tras un tiroteo febril, los vigilantes logran expulsar a los jugadores y forajidos de su asentamiento, colgando a los que quedan de postes de telégrafo y vigas de cabañas de troncos.

6 de noviembre: Después de meses de escaramuzas conocidas como "Guerra de la Nube Roja", el gobierno sugiere un tratado, pero el líder nativo americano Nube Roja no condescenderá en reunirse hasta que los militares se hayan retirado del Camino Bozeman. Ellos están de acuerdo, y Red Cloud firma el Tratado de Powder River, que garantiza a los sioux su enorme coto de caza a perpetuidad. Por lo tanto, Red Cloud se considera el único líder nativo que ganó una guerra con los Estados Unidos.

1869
Enero: Se funda Corinne, Utah. Es el primer asentamiento no mormón en el Territorio y resultará ser el último pueblo verdadero de Hell on Wheels.

8 de abril: Después de meses de mayor tensión, cabildeo a puerta cerrada en Washington, presión del Congreso y reuniones abortadas entre las dos compañías, Dodge y Huntington deciden un lugar de encuentro para sus dos líneas. Se necesitan dos días de discusión tempestuosa, pero los hombres negocian la convergencia en Promontory Summit, Utah.

28 de abril: Día de la Victoria. Charles Crocker decide que tiene una última cosa que mostrar a Union Pacific y al mundo. En una notable hazaña de fuerza y ​​organización, sus tripulaciones del Pacífico Central colocaron un inaudito de 10 millas de ferrocarril entre el amanecer y el atardecer.

6 de mayo: A medida que los autos Pullman se mueven hacia el oeste hacia Promontory Summit, trabajadores de corbata no remunerados bloquean la línea y un puente se desvanece en Devil's Gate. Estos hechos retrasan dos días la llegada de los dignatarios de Durant y Union Pacific.

8 de mayo: A pesar de la demora, los jubileos proceden según lo planeado en ciudades de California. En la ceremonia del Pacífico Central en Sacramento, se brindan por las visiones pioneras de Asa Whitney y Theodore Judah.

10 de mayo: En medio de una multitud de dignatarios y trabajadores, con las locomotoras No. 119 y Júpiter prácticamente tocándose narices, los ferrocarriles Central Pacific y Union Pacific se unen. Los operadores de telégrafos que transmiten a ambas costas transmiten los golpes de martillo al caer sobre una púa dorada. La nación escucha cómo el este y el oeste se unen en una unión indivisa.

1872
4 de septiembre: durante una acalorada campaña presidencial, el escándalo Crédit Mobilier estalla en la prensa, manchando el nombre de muchas figuras gubernamentales establecidas que supuestamente vendieron su influencia por acciones de Crédit Mobilier. Entre ellos se encuentra el presidente de la Cámara de Representantes James G. Blaine de Maine, quien sugiere que un comité de investigación considerará que las acusaciones no tienen valor.

1873
Febrero: Un comité del Congreso investiga el Crédit Mobilier. El escándalo crea desilusión pública con los líderes electos, pero el comité reparte muy poco castigo. Todos los jugadores importantes escapan ilesos, salvo el chivo expiatorio Oakes Ames, que es expulsado del Congreso y abandona Washington avergonzado. Morirá pocos meses después.

1880
Para 1880, el ferrocarril del Pacífico transporta $ 50 millones en fletes anualmente. Ha servido como arteria para 200 millones de acres de asentamiento entre el Mississippi y el Pacífico. Los indios de las llanuras se han dispersado en reservas, y quedan poco más de 1.000 búfalos de los millones que alguna vez poblaron las praderas. Un viaje entre San Francisco y Nueva York, que alguna vez pudo haber ocupado seis extenuantes meses, ahora lleva unos días.

1882
Ignorando el papel crucial que jugaron los inmigrantes chinos en la construcción de la infraestructura de California, el Congreso aprueba la Ley de Exclusión China, que prohíbe una mayor inmigración de trabajadores chinos a los Estados Unidos durante un período de diez años. El Congreso prorrogará esta Ley en 1892, y nuevamente indefinidamente en 1904.

1884
Rebosantes de las ganancias de la empresa ferroviaria y desconsolados por la muerte de su hijo adolescente, Leland y Jane Stanford dotan a la Leland Stanford Junior University de un terreno familiar en Palo Alto, California.

1889
Un acuerdo con el gobierno de los EE. UU. Divide el territorio sioux en el valle del río Powder, una vez prometido a los nativos americanos a perpetuidad por el Tratado de 1868. Los sioux se dispersan en seis reservas desconectadas más pequeñas y se abre la última gran propiedad de un pueblo indígena. al asentamiento blanco.


20 profesiones del siglo XX que ya no existen

Si bien la tecnología ha agregado innumerables puestos de trabajo a la fuerza laboral durante el siglo pasado, desde administradores de red hasta los famosos de Instagram, también ha hecho que una gran cantidad de profesiones se vuelvan obsoletas a lo largo del camino. Según un informe reciente de McKinsey & amp Company, para 2030, más de 800 millones de personas perderán sus trabajos debido a la automatización. Sin embargo, mucho antes de que los cajeros y los cobradores de peajes siguieran el camino del dinosaurio, estas profesiones estaban en la tabla de cortar.

Desde carreras peligrosas que no creerás que hayan existido hasta las que ya extrañamos, estos trabajos del siglo XX que ya no existen pueden hacerte sentir un poco nostálgico. Y cuando quieras más pruebas de lo lejos que hemos llegado, ¡mira estos 20 electrodomésticos que no existían cuando eras joven!

Desde principios hasta mediados del siglo XX, si deseaba ponerse en contacto con alguien por teléfono, un operador de centralita era la persona que lo ayudaba a hacerlo. Los operadores de centralita eran esenciales siempre que deseaba realizar una llamada, ya que conectaban a una persona que llamaba a través de la oficina central con la parte a la que intentaban comunicarse a través de una red de enchufes manuales. Si bien esta profesión puede parecer anticuada, los operadores de centralita estaban en uso hasta bien entrada la década de 1960. Y cuando desee avanzar en su carrera, comience por eliminar de su vocabulario estas 20 cosas sutilmente sexistas que la gente dice en el trabajo.

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¿Crees que tu despertador que te despierta por la mañana es molesto? Ahora imagina que es un tipo real que golpea tu ventana y te dice que te levantes de la cama. Las aldabas, o aldabas, tenían el único propósito de sacar a la gente de la cama por la mañana, y lo hicieron hasta bien entrada la década de 1950. Y cuando desee llevar su carrera al siguiente nivel, consulte Las 25 mejores formas de obtener una promoción.

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En los siglos XIX y XX, podías ganarte una paga honesta con solo un poco de pérdida de sangre como recolector de sanguijuelas. Los recolectores de sanguijuelas salían a masas de agua habitadas por sanguijuelas y las recolectaban, vendiéndolas a médicos y hospitales para tratamientos de sangría. Desafortunadamente, el uso de su cuerpo como cebo a menudo provocaba infecciones y otros daños corporales, y desde entonces la profesión ha desaparecido.

Sin embargo, las sanguijuelas todavía se usan en algunas prácticas médicas hoy en día; simplemente ya no enviamos a la gente a los pantanos para recolectarlas. ¿Listo para un cambio de ritmo? Asegúrese de estar armado con estas 6 armas secretas para convertir el trabajo que tiene en el que desea.

Si creció en la última parte del siglo XX, probablemente recuerde el dolor de tener su cinta de video favorita atascada en su VCR. Ingrese: el reparador de VCR, que podría salvar eso Fraggle Rock video y su VCR en el proceso. Pero con el auge de los DVD y los servicios de transmisión, sería difícil encontrar una tecnología de VCR hoy. ¿Cree que las videograbadoras son frustrantes? No tienen nada sobre los 30 peores electrodomésticos jamás creados.

Los cortadores de hielo solían arriesgar sus vidas saliendo sobre cuerpos de agua y quitando bloques de hielo con sierras de mano o sierras eléctricas, que luego se vendían para mantener la comida fría. Y cuando esté listo para ascender a una posición más satisfactoria, ¡esta es la forma más rápida de promocionarse!

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Netflix es innegablemente genial, pero a menudo nos olvidamos de los trabajos que prácticamente eliminó: los de los dependientes de las tiendas de videos. Si bien quedan algunos éxitos de taquilla, uno en Oregón y algunos en Alaska, lo que solía ser una industria es poco más que una novedad nostálgica en la actualidad. ¿Está su trabajo al borde de la obsolescencia? Descubra la mejor manera de sobrevivir a un despido.


Antes de que las farolas eléctricas fueran comunes, era el trabajo de un farolero mantener las calles iluminadas por las noches. Usando un palo largo con una mecha en un extremo, los faroleros encendían el aceite o las velas que se usaban en las farolas y volvían a apagarlas por la mañana. Hoy en día, es prácticamente imposible encontrar un farolero que trabaje a tiempo completo en una ciudad importante, especialmente en los Estados Unidos. Y cuando quiera cambiar su vida laboral para siempre, ¡comience con las 40 mejores formas de impulsar su carrera!

Hoy en día, hay 12 tipos diferentes de leche disponibles en prácticamente cualquier supermercado al que entre. Hace cincuenta años, solo había un tipo, entregado en su puerta por un lechero. Teniendo en cuenta que los estadounidenses beben, en promedio, un galón de leche menos por mes que hace 50 años, no es de extrañar que la entrega de leche haya perdido algo de su atractivo. ¿Y si crees que tu trabajo es malo? Espere hasta que vea las 30 políticas corporativas más locas que los empleados deben seguir.

Antes del advenimiento del rodenticida moderno, podía encontrar un trabajo confiable atrapando ratas. Los cazadores de ratas fueron populares en toda Europa durante la época de la peste negra y todavía se emplearon en todo el mundo durante la primera parte del siglo XX. Y cuando esté listo para una carrera más satisfactoria, asegúrese de conocer El truco secreto para que su currículum se destaque.

Hoy en día, tenemos pequeños dispositivos en nuestros hogares que pueden escribir nuestras listas de compras por nosotros si no hacemos más que pedirles que lo hagan. Sin embargo, desde finales del siglo XIX hasta mediados del siglo XX, el dictado estuvo a cargo de operadores de dictáfono. ¿Listo para dar un salto profesional por tu cuenta? ¡Vea estos 25 trabajos de trabajo desde casa con altos salarios!

Si bien navegar alrededor de un camión de 18 ruedas que transporta madera en la carretera puede ser una molestia, esos camiones son una mejora importante con respecto a las prácticas anteriores de la industria maderera. Caso en cuestión: hasta la década de 1970, el manejo de troncos era uno de los métodos preferidos para mover la madera de un lugar a otro, con hombres montando troncos río abajo como un medio para llevarlos a los aserraderos. Desafortunadamente, la práctica era extremadamente peligrosa, con innumerables conductores de troncos que perdían la vida en el trabajo.

Hoy escuchamos podcasts. A lo largo del siglo XX, sin embargo, millones sintonizaron los dramas de radio y vieron a sus actores favoritos interpretar las series que eran tan populares en ese momento. Y aunque algunos entusiastas de la radio están tratando de recuperar el formato, la cantidad de actores que pueden ganarse la vida en esta línea de trabajo hoy es probablemente cero.

Antes de que se digitalizara la industria de la impresión, todas esas historias tenían que ser escritas a mano por un tipógrafo antes de imprimirse. Teniendo en cuenta que las suscripciones a periódicos impresos han caído a sus niveles más bajos desde la década de 1940, según el Pew Research Center, parece que los periódicos impresos tampoco tardarán mucho en llegar a este mundo.

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La buena noticia: las tasas de tabaquismo han caído a mínimos históricos en todo el mundo. ¿Las malas noticias? Eso significa que la chica de los cigarrillos, una mujer que vendía cigarrillos de una caja alrededor de su cuello, que alguna vez fue una parte habitual de la experiencia de la vida nocturna a principios y mediados del siglo XX, es cosa del pasado.

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Con el auge de los ascensores de botón, hemos visto el inevitable declive del operador de ascensores, cuyo único trabajo era operar los ascensores manualmente y permitir que los pasajeros subieran y bajaran en sus pisos deseados. Si bien es posible que ocasionalmente los vea como una novedad en algunos edificios, los operadores de ascensores prácticamente han desaparecido.

Hoy en día, ya sea que haya lanzado una bola de alcantarilla o un strike, esos pines serán inevitablemente barridos por una máquina automatizada. Sin embargo, a lo largo del siglo XX, antes del advenimiento de la automatización, el trabajo de un colocador de bolos era limpiar y reemplazar manualmente los bolos y asegurarse de que las bolas regresaran a su dueño legítimo después de un marco.

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Es posible que su lugar de trabajo le permita escuchar su podcast o audiolibro favorito, pero a lo largo del siglo XX hubo personas cuyo único trabajo era leerles a los trabajadores. Las fábricas solían emplear lectores para leer los periódicos a los trabajadores mientras trabajaban en un intento de educarlos y proporcionarles una diversión durante la jornada laboral.

Antes de la invención de los enrolladores de reloj eléctricos, el trabajo se realizaba con frecuencia manualmente mediante un enrollador de reloj dedicado. Si bien este trabajo casi ha sido eliminado, hay una excepción notable: hace solo cinco años, Big Ben estaba contratando un mecanismo de cuerda. ¿La tarifa actual? Justo al norte de $ 50,000 por año.

Como la mayoría de las salas de cine se cambian a proyectores digitales, el papel del proyeccionista de películas es en gran parte obsoleto. Si bien los roles de algunos proyeccionistas dentro de la sala de cine han cambiado para incluir programación y administración, es probable que tenga problemas para encontrar a alguien que todavía proyecte profesionalmente películas de 35 mm en la actualidad.

Hoy en día, una computadora portátil puede pesar tan poco como un libro de tapa dura. Sin embargo, a lo largo del siglo XX, se necesitó todo un ser humano, o en ocasiones un equipo de ellos, para generar la energía en una de estas pequeñas máquinas que muchos de nosotros damos por sentado en la actualidad.

Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, se utilizaron las llamadas computadoras humanas para realizar complejas ecuaciones matemáticas. La NASA también utilizó computadoras humanas a mediados de la década de 1900, como se muestra en el libro. Figuras ocultas y la película del mismo nombre. ¿Crees que es una carrera salvaje? ¡Espere hasta que vea estos 15 trabajos ridículos tan inútiles que no creerá que existen!

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Vida familiar turbulenta

El 19 de diciembre de 1813, para consternación de sus padres, Vanderbilt se casó con su prima hermana, Sophia Johnson. La pareja eventualmente tendría 13 hijos, de los cuales 11 sobrevivieron hasta la edad adulta. Por muy exitoso que fuera en los negocios, era un padre y un marido terrible. Un misógino de toda la vida que había querido más de tres hijos, & # xA0Vanderbilt & # xA0 prestó poca atención a sus hijas y se cree que engañó a su esposa con prostitutas. Vanderbilt supuestamente hizo que su hijo & # xA0Cornelius Jeremiah dos veces & # xA0 lo internaran en un manicomio. También emprendió el mismo curso de acción para Sophia en un momento dado, después de que Vanderbilt mostrara un interés amoroso por la familia y una joven institutriz.


Las raíces violentas del Día del Trabajo: cómo una revuelta de trabajadores en el ferrocarril B & ampO dejó 100 muertos

En el verano de 1877, Estados Unidos sufrió un estallido de disturbios laborales tan generalizados y violentos que algunos pensaron que se avecinaba una nueva revolución estadounidense, esta vez teñida con los ideales comunistas que acababan de arder en Francia.

La Gran Huelga Ferroviaria de 1877 comenzó en Martinsburg, Virginia Occidental, el 16 de julio cuando los trabajadores ferroviarios respondieron a otro recorte salarial cerrando el patio. Estallaron violentos enfrentamientos, y desde allí el problema se extendió a lo largo de las grandes líneas ferroviarias hasta Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago y St. Louis, aumentando con ferocidad a medida que avanzaba.

Casi dos millas cuadradas de Pittsburgh se incendiaron. Multitudes de policías y multitudes de alborotadores se perseguían unos a otros en Chicago. La huelga interrumpió los ferrocarriles B&O, Erie y Pennsylvania, arrasó con mineros, trabajadores del hierro, estibadores y barqueros del canal, y tocó lugares tan distantes como Worcester, Massachusetts, y San Francisco, tan al sur como Nashville y Galveston, Texas. En algunos lugares, la huelga borró la línea de color entre los trabajadores blancos y negros, al menos por un tiempo.

Cuando se sofocó la huelga, se estimaba que habían participado 100.000 trabajadores y unas 100 personas habían muerto. Fue lo más cerca que estuvo la joven nación de una huelga general nacional y señaló la necesidad de un futuro más progresista.

“[M] uchos estadounidenses mirarían hacia atrás al verano de 1877 como un punto de inflexión”, escribe Philip Dray, cuyo libro “Hay poder en una unión” documenta la historia laboral de Estados Unidos.

La chispa vino cuando John W. Garrett, presidente del Ferrocarril de Baltimore y Ohio, aprobó un recorte salarial del 10 por ciento. Bajó el salario diario de un guardafrenos a 1,35 dólares y fue el segundo recorte de este tipo en un año. También se produjo cuando los estadounidenses todavía estaban luchando después del Pánico de 1873, uno de los peores derrapes económicos jamás vistos.

Los trabajadores de B&O en Baltimore intentaron organizar una protesta pero fueron frustrados por la policía. Así que la acción se trasladó a Martinsburg, el término de una sección B&O.

El 16 de julio, la tripulación de un tren de ganado abandonó el trabajo y dejó la carne asada en el calor. Luego, un guardafrenos condujo a los trabajadores a desacoplar los trenes para que no pudieran salir del patio. La policía entró pero fue expulsada. El gobernador de Virginia Occidental, Henry M. Mathews, llamó a la milicia local.

La milicia tomó el mando del tren de ganado al día siguiente y lo puso en marcha, pero se encontraron con huelguistas, uno de los cuales accionó un interruptor para desviar el tren. Se intercambiaron disparos: un delantero murió y un miliciano resultó herido. Mathews pidió al presidente Rutherford B. Hayes que envíe tropas federales. Hayes obedeció.

Mayor General W.H. Los franceses llegaron a Martinsburg con 200 soldados de la cuarta artillería estadounidense y la esperanza, escribe Dray, de que una muestra de bayonetas sería suficiente para restaurar el orden. Los soldados, sin la ayuda de los trabajadores de B&O, pusieron en marcha los trenes.

Pero los huelguistas iniciaron un conflicto guerrillero de baja intensidad. Los trabajadores ferroviarios, a los que ahora se unen mineros, trabajadores del hierro y barqueros del canal de Chesapeake y Ohio, se escondieron debajo de puentes o detrás de curvas ciegas, emergiendo para emboscar trenes con piedras o bloquear las vías con escombros.

El gobernador de Maryland, John Lee Carroll, al ver un estado vecino en crisis, llamó a la Guardia Nacional de Maryland en Baltimore y los envió a Cumberland, un cruce clave de B&O no lejos de Martinsburg. Mientras los guardias del 5º Regimiento marchaban desde la armería de la ciudad hasta la estación de Camden, los trabajadores de la fábrica de Baltimore salieron a la calle a vitorear, hasta que se corrió la voz sobre por qué se movilizaron los soldados. Pronto, la multitud que lo vitoreaba se convirtió en una turba que lanzaba piedras.

Se convocó a más tropas, solo para empeorar las cosas. Mientras el 6º Regimiento de la Guardia Nacional de Maryland siguió el mismo camino, miles de manifestantes, quizás decenas de miles - "una turba, compuesta por los peores elementos de la ciudad", como lo expresó el New York Times - se soltaron con ladrillos. Algunos soldados corrieron. Otros dispararon al aire. Algunos dispararon contra la turba, matando a 10 personas.

A estas alturas, la rabia había viajado por los rieles hasta Pittsburgh, el corazón industrial del país. Los problemas comenzaron después de que el Ferrocarril de Pensilvania ordenó que todos los trenes fueran en "doble cabezal", una configuración que usaba dos locomotoras que obligaba a una tripulación a hacer el trabajo de dos.

No en Pittsburgh, dijeron los delanteros. Una vez más, la policía no pudo intervenir y la milicia local apuntó las armas en solidaridad con la huelga. El gobernador de Pensilvania, John F. Hartranft, convocó a la Guardia Nacional de Filadelfia, el rival entre los estados de la Ciudad de Hierro.

Las tropas de Filadelfia, muchos veteranos de la Guerra Civil, llegaron en un tren atravesado por piedras y trozos de carbón arrojados sobre ellos durante el viaje. Iban fuertemente armados, con artillería y una ametralladora Gatling. El sábado 21 de julio, en la esquina de Liberty Avenue y 28th Street, los soldados se enfrentaron con una turba de unas 6.000 personas. Se hicieron disparos, matando al menos a 20 personas.

"Disparado a sangre fría por los rudos de Filadelfia", decía un periódico local. “The Lexington of Labor Conflict Is at Hand.”

The crazed mob looted gun shops and weaponized freight cars loaded with coal, setting them on fire and rolling them downhill toward the roundhouse where the soldiers had sheltered. By the next morning, the soldiers had no choice but to flee under fire, and their Gatling gun was put to use. A chunk of the city had been put to the torch.

Chicago was next. Leaders of the Workingmen’s Party — which was heavily influenced by Marxism and was a forerunner of the Socialist Party — addressed a crowd of 30,000 people in downtown Chicago to form a “Grand Army of Labor,” Dray writes. “Pittsburgh! Pittsburgh! Pittsburgh!” the cry went up. Then violence broke out, and 30 people died.

In St. Louis, a relatively peaceful general strike shut down everything — and for that reason most frightened the leaders of industry, Dray writes. Talk spread of an “American Commune,” and the Workingmen’s Party led 10,000 in a parade singing “La Marseillaise.” But martial law was declared, arrests were made, and the Great Strike was on its way to becoming memory.

Afterward, the railroad barons were unrepentant. The B&O’s Garrett thought the soldiers should have killed more strikers. Others dismissed the unrest as the doings of foreign subversives. Politicians instead focused on strengthening the National Guard, often by building armories. But despite losing the strike, laborers had changed perceptions: In growing numbers, Americans came to believe that government should do more for social justice.

“What labor won was a new appreciation of its own strength,” Dray writes, “and of the power of the strike.”


The automated workplace

Robotic machines can perform certain unpleasant and dangerous jobs such as welding or painting. They can handle loads of up to a ton or more and work efficiently in temperatures ranging from near freezing to uncomfortably hot. In many cases automation has eliminated physical and mental drudgery from human labour and has allowed the worker to change from a machine operator to a machine supervisor.

Automation also boosts productivity (as measured in output per man-hour), even as it reduces the number of workers required for certain tasks. In the 1950s and ’60s, for example, productivity increased while employment decreased in the chemical, steel, meatpacking, and other industries in developed countries. Except in the rust belt regions (older industrial areas in Britain and the United States), no mass unemployment has ever materialized. Instead, as certain jobs and skills became obsolete, automation and other new technologies created new jobs that call for different skills.

Automation has brought about changes in the worker’s relationship to the job. Here the differences between labour practices in different countries prove instructive. The scientific management principle of breaking work down into small, repetitive tasks was based perhaps upon the notion that the worker does not think on the job. For example, when American factories became mechanized, the workers were not permitted to stop the assembly line if anything went amiss that was the task of supervisory personnel. This led to low productivity and poor quality control. By comparison, workers in Japanese factories were allowed to stop the process when something went wrong. Workers were assigned to “quality circles,” groups that could give workers a say in the performance of their tasks and in the process of problem solving. This approach represents an application of Mayo’s Hawthorne effect—something Japanese managers had learned from American management consultants such as W. Edwards Deming. By encouraging workers to participate in the quality control efforts, the management approach improved both productivity and quality.

A similar way of enhancing quality and work performance is what is known as group assembly, which started in Swedish automobile plants and was also adopted by the Japanese and then by the Americans. With this system a group of workers is responsible for the entire product (as opposed to individual workers who perform only one small task). If something goes wrong on an assembly line, any worker can push a button and hold things in place until the problem is resolved.

As this approach is increasingly employed throughout the world, it brings major changes to the labour force and to labour-management relations. First, it allows smaller numbers of more highly skilled workers, operating sophisticated computer-controlled equipment, to replace thousands of unskilled workers in assembly-line plants. As a consequence, the highly skilled worker, whose talents had been lost on the old-fashioned assembly line, has again become indispensable. The proliferation of automated machinery and control systems has increased the demand for skilled labourers and knowledgeable technicians who can operate the newer devices. As a result, automation may be seen as improving efficiency and expanding production while relieving drudgery and increasing earnings—precisely the aims of Frederick W. Taylor at the turn of the 20th century.


East St. Louis Massacre

The name refers to a race riot that occurred in the industrial city of East St. Louis, Illinois, over July 2-3, 1917. It is also referred to as the “East St. Louis Riot.” As historians have looked at its various causes, they have labeled it in different ways, depending on what aspect of it they have focused their attention on. Some recent historians have called it a “pogrom” against African Americans in that civil authorities in the city and the state appear to have been at least complicit in—if not explicitly responsible for—the outbreak of violence. Even in 1917, some commentators already made the comparison between the East St. Louis disturbance and pogroms against Jews that were occurring at the time in Russia. Roving mobs rampaged through the city for a day and a night, burning the homes and businesses of African Americans, stopping street cars to pull their victims into the street, and assaulting and murdering men, women, and children who they happened to encounter. A memorial petition to the U.S. Congress, sent by a citizen committee from East St. Louis described it as “a very orgy of inhuman butchery during which more than fifty colored men, women and children were beaten with bludgeons, stoned, shot, drowned, hanged or burned to death—all without any effective interference on the part of the police, sheriff or military authorities.” In fact, estimates of the number of people killed ranged from 40 to more than 150. Six thousand people fled from their homes in the city, either out of fear for their lives or because mobs had burned their houses.

In the early years of the 20th century, many industrial cities in the North and the Midwest became destinations for African Americans migrating from the South, looking for employment. East St. Louis was one of these cities, where blacks found opportunities to work for meatpacking, metalworking, and railroad companies. The demand for workers in these companies increased dramatically in the run-up to World War I. Some of the workmen left for service in the military, creating a need for replacements, and the demand for war materiel increased industrial orders. The workforce had been highly unionized and a series of labor strikes had increased pressure on companies to find non-unionized workers to do the work. Some companies in East St. Louis actively recruited rural Southern blacks, offering them transportation and jobs, as well as the promise of settling in a community of neighborhoods where African Americans were building new lives strengthened by emerging political and cultural power. By the spring of 1917, about 2,000 African Americans arrived in East St. Louis every week.

Racial competition and conflict emerged from this. The established unions in East St. Louis resented the African American workers as “scabs” and strike breakers. On May 28-29, a union meeting whose 3,000 attendees marched on the mayor’s office to make demands about “unfair” competition devolved into a mob that rioted through the streets, destroyed buildings, and assaulted African Americans at random. The Illinois governor sent in the National Guard to stop the riot, but over the next few weeks, black neighborhood associations, fearful of their safety, organized for their own protection and determined that they would fight back if attacked again. On July 1, white men driving a car through a black neighborhood began shooting into houses, stores, and a church. A group of black men organized themselves to defend against the attackers. As they gathered together, they mistook an approaching car for the same one that had earlier driven through the neighborhood and they shot and killed both men in the car, who were, in fact, police detectives sent to calm the situation. The shooting of the detectives incensed a growing crowd of white spectators who came the next day to gawk at the car. The crowd grew and turned into a mob that spent the day and the following night on a spree of violence that extended into the black neighborhoods of East St. Louis. Again, the National Guard was sent in, but neither the guardsmen nor police officers were at all effective in protecting the African American residents. They were instead more disposed to construe their job as putting down a black revolt. As a result, some of the white mobs were virtually unrestrained.

A national outcry immediately arose to oust the East St. Louis police chief and other city officials, who were not just ineffective during the riots, but were suspected of aiding and abetting the rioters, partly out of a preconceived plan, suggested Marcus Garvey, to discourage African American migration to the city. The recently formed NAACP suddenly grew and mobilized—with a silent march of 10,000 people in New York City to protest the riots. They and others demanded a Congressional investigation into the riots. The report of the investigation, however, pointed to the migration of African Americans to the East St. Louis region as a “cause” of the riot, wording that sounded like blaming the victims. As Marcus Garvey had said of an earlier report of the riot, “An investigation of the affair resulted in the finding that labor agents had induced Negroes to come from the South. I can hardly see the relevance of such a report with the dragging of men from cars and shooting them.” A similar point about simple justice for the victims and where to place the blame for the riots nearly caused ex-President Theodore Roosevelt to come to blows with AFL leader Samuel Gompers during a public appearance shortly after the riot. Roosevelt demanded that those who had perpetrated the violence and murders in East St. Louis be brought to justice. Gompers then rose to address the crowd and, as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, wrote, “He read a telegram which he said he had received tonight from the president of the Federation of Labor of Illinois. This message purported to explain the origin of the East St. Louis riots. It asserted that instead of labor unions being responsible for them they resulted from employers enticing Negroes from the south to the city ‘to break the back of labor.’” This enraged Roosevelt, who jumped up, approached Gompers, brought his hand down onto his shoulder and roared that, “There should be no apology for the infamous brutalities committed on the colored people of East St. Louis.” Roosevelt, like many other Americans of all races, was particularly appalled by the irony that such an event could occur in the United States at the same time that the country, by entering World War I, was declaring its intentions to export abroad its vision of freedom and justice. This theme was picked up by many editorial cartoonists in newspapers across the U.S. East St. Louis was by no means the only northern industrial city to experience race riots during this period. A conviction grew among some African Americans that they could not depend on an enlightened white community or government, either in the South or in the North, to insure their rights and their safety, but that they would have to fight for their own rights. In an editorial entitled "Let Us Reason Together," in his magazine, The Crisis, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote, “Today we raise the terrible weapon of self-defense. When the murderer comes, he shall no longer strike us in the back. When the armed lynchers gather, we too must gather armed. When the mob moves, we propose to meet it with bricks and clubs and guns.”

Para más información

Harper Barnes, Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement. New York: Walker & Company, 2008. Elliott M. Ruckwick, Race Riot at East St. Louis, July 2, 1917. Carbondale: University of Illinois Press, 1982. Charles L. Lumpkins, American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2008. U. S. House of Representatives, Special Committee on East St. Louis Riots, East St. Louis Riots. Washington: GPO, 1918.


Labor Day’s violent roots: How a worker revolt on the B&O Railroad left 100 people dead

In the summer of 1877, the United States endured an outbreak of labor unrest so widespread and violent that some thought a new American revolution was in the offing, this time tinged with the communist ideals that had just burned through France.

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began in Martinsburg, W.Va., on July 16 when railroad workers responded to yet another pay cut by shutting down the yard. Violent clashes broke out, and from there the trouble raced along the great railroad lines into Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago and St. Louis, building in ferocity as it went.

Nearly two square miles of Pittsburgh went up in flames. Mobs of police and mobs of rioters hunted each other down in Chicago. The strike disrupted the B&O, the Erie and the Pennsylvania railroads, swept up miners, iron workers, longshoremen and canal boatmen, and touched places as far apart as Worcester, Mass., and San Francisco, as far south as Nashville and Galveston, Tex. In some places, the strike erased the color line between white and black workers, at least for a while.

By the time the strike was put down, an estimated 100,000 workers had taken part and about 100 people had died. It was the closest the young nation had come to a nationwide general strike and pointed to the need for a more progressive future.

“[M]any Americans would look back to the summer of 1877 as a turning point,” writes Philip Dray, whose book “There Is Power in a Union” documents U.S. labor history.

The spark came when John W. Garrett, president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, signed off on a 10 percent wage cut. It knocked a brakeman’s daily wage to $1.35 and was the second such cut in a year. It also came as Americans were still struggling after the Panic of 1873, one of the worst economic skids ever seen.

B&O workers in Baltimore tried to stage a protest but were thwarted by police. So the action moved down the line to Martinsburg, the terminus of a B&O section.

On July 16, a cattle train’s crew walked off the job, leaving the beef to roast in the heat. Then a brakeman led workers in decoupling trains so they couldn’t leave the yard. Police moved in but were driven off. West Virginia Gov. Henry M. Mathews called up the local militia.

The militia took command of the cattle train the next day and got it moving, but they were met by strikers, one of whom threw a switch to divert the train. Shots were exchanged: one striker was killed, and a militia member was wounded. Mathews called on President Rutherford B. Hayes to send federal troops. Hayes complied.

Maj. Gen. W.H. French arrived in Martinsburg with 200 soldiers of the 4th U.S. Artillery and the hope, Dray writes, that a show of bayonets would be enough to restore order. The soldiers, without help from B&O workers, got the trains running.

But the strikers began a low-grade guerrilla conflict. Railroad workers — joined now by miners, iron workers and boatmen from the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal — hid under bridges or behind blind curves, emerging to ambush trains with stones or block the tracks with debris.

Maryland Gov. John Lee Carroll, seeing a neighboring state in turmoil, called out the Maryland National Guard in Baltimore and dispatched them to Cumberland, a key B&O junction not far from Martinsburg. As 5th Regiment guardsmen marched from the city’s armory to Camden Station, Baltimore factory workers came into the street to cheer — until word got out about why the soldiers were mobilized. Soon the cheering crowd became a stone-throwing mob.

More troops were summoned, only to make things worse. As the Maryland National Guard’s 6th Regiment followed the same path, thousands of protesters, perhaps tens of thousands — “a mob, composed of the worst elements in the city,” as the New York Times put it — let loose with bricks. Some soldiers ran. Others fired into the air. Some fired into the mob, killing 10 people.

By now the rage had traveled the rails to Pittsburgh, the country’s industrial heart. Trouble began after the Pennsylvania Railroad ordered that all trains go in “double-headers” — a configuration using two locomotives that forced one crew to do the work of two.

Not in Pittsburgh, the strikers said. Once again, police were powerless to intervene, and local militia stacked arms in sympathy with the strike. Pennsylvania Gov. John F. Hartranft summoned the National Guard from Philadelphia, the Iron City’s cross-state rival.

The Philadelphia troops — many Civil War veterans — arrived in a train gouged by stones and chunks of coal dumped on them during the journey. They were heavily armed, with artillery and a Gatling gun. On Saturday, July 21, at the corner of Liberty Avenue and 28th Street, the soldiers clashed with a mob of about 6,000 people. Shots were fired, killing at least 20 people.

“Shot in Cold Blood by the Roughs of Philadelphia,” a local newspaper blared. “The Lexington of Labor Conflict Is at Hand.”

The crazed mob looted gun shops and weaponized freight cars loaded with coal, setting them on fire and rolling them downhill toward the roundhouse where the soldiers had sheltered. By the next morning, the soldiers had no choice but to flee under fire, and their Gatling gun was put to use. A chunk of the city had been put to the torch.

Chicago was next. Leaders of the Workingmen’s Party — which was heavily influenced by Marxism and was a forerunner of the Socialist Party — addressed a crowd of 30,000 people in downtown Chicago to form a “Grand Army of Labor,” Dray writes. “Pittsburgh! Pittsburgh! Pittsburgh!” the cry went up. Then violence broke out, and 30 people died.

In St. Louis, a relatively peaceful general strike shut down everything — and for that reason most frightened the leaders of industry, Dray writes. Talk spread of an “American Commune,” and the Workingmen’s Party led 10,000 in a parade singing “La Marseillaise.” But martial law was declared, arrests were made, and the Great Strike was on its way to becoming memory.

Afterward, the railroad barons were unrepentant. The B&O’s Garrett thought the soldiers should have killed more strikers. Others dismissed the unrest as the doings of foreign subversives. Politicians instead focused on strengthening the National Guard, often by building armories. But despite losing the strike, laborers had changed perceptions: In growing numbers, Americans came to believe that government should do more for social justice.

“What labor won was a new appreciation of its own strength,” Dray writes, “and of the power of the strike.”


The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 Antecedentes históricos

Summer, eighteen hundred seventy-seven. The United States officially ended the twelve-year period spent "reconstructing" the nation after a divisive war. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was four months into his hard-won presidency, having lost the popular vote to New York's Governor Samuel Tilden but winning the office thanks to the partisan electoral college. Industrial growth, evident in the North prior to the war, was widespread, changing the economic foundation of the nation and the relationship of the individual to his work for the next century.

As devastating as the War Between the States was for soldiers and civilians, it was remarkably lucrative for entrepreneurs and financiers. The economy boomed with necessary production of goods for both the battlefield and the home front technological advancements bred further innovation. The steel industry had already benefited from a new manufacturing technique known as the Bessemer process, developed in the 1850s, that used less than one-seventh the amount of coal previously needed. Shipping speed and profits increased due to advancements in water power and steam engines. New York City, a hub of national mercantilism and commerce, became a center for the buying and selling of money itself by the Civil War, housing the notable Stock Exchange of the City of New York. Venerable businessmen Cornelius Vanderbilt and Daniel Drew became even more prosperous, but the future of the country belonged to a younger generation. The robber barons and captains of industry of the last quarter of the nineteenth century were all under forty in 1861: Jay Gould, Jim Fisk, J.P. Morgan, Philip Armour, Andrew Carnegie, James Hill and John Rockefeller were in their early twenties Collis Huntington and Leland Stanford were over thirty, and Jay Cooke, not yet forty. Their business acumen, willingness to take risks, and downright arrogance resulted in exorbitant, some would say obscene, wealth, much of which was, at this point, plowed back into the businesses to create even more capital. Their power is evident in the panic of Black Friday (September 24, 1869), caused by the efforts of Jim Fisk and Jay Gould to corner the gold market.

Money, technology, greed and a profound lack of government regulation gave rise to new forms of companies and corporations. The first businesses to become really big were the railroads, and regional lines frequently had monopolies over freight transportation and charges. In 1869, freight accounted for $300 million in railroad earnings. By 1890, the amount more than doubled, to $734 million. The Albany Argus published the train schedules in its daily newspaper. So tied to the vagaries of railroad charges were farmers in the mid-West that they took their concerns to the Supreme Court (Munn v. Illinois, 1876).

At the beginning of Ulysses Grant's second term, several Eastern financial institutions ran out of funds as a result of bad loans. The subsequent Panic of 1873 ravaged the nation banks closed, the stock market temporarily collapsed, and an economic depression affected Americans for approximately five years. Within the first year, 89 railroads (of the 364 then existing) went out of business their failure left farmers with no means of transporting products, and they too became casualties. The new industrialized economy was so intertwined that a vicious downward cycle began: by 1875, more than 18,000 companies collapsed. With no money and no visible relief on the horizon, Americans took out their frustrations on the available targets: government, corporations, banks, immigrants. Businesses turned to workers.

The change from an agrarian to industrial economy transformed the value of labor. Workers became just another cog in the machinery of business. When profits declined beyond those acceptable to stockholders, it was the worker who received lower wages, or was dismissed. The steady movement of rural dwellers to urban industrial areas and ever-increasing numbers of immigrants provided business owners a constant source of cheap labor, willing to work under the most deplorable of conditions. In the 1870s, workers did not yet organize when they finally did, their unions were not sanctioned or protected by the federal government until decades later, in the 1930s.

Such was the United States in July, 1877. The Railroad Strike began simply enough, in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on July 16. It became the first massive strike of American workers, and was viewed at the time as rebellion and insurrection. So great was the fear of corporate America that huge, stone armories were constructed around the country to protect the citizenry from a working people's revolt. They remain in many cities today as a reminder of a perceived war on capitalism and "the American way of life." Such is the legacy of The Great Strike of 1877, otherwise referred to as The Great Upheaval.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad cut wages for its workers by 10 per cent on Monday, July 16 it was the second such action in eight months. Confused and angry, the trainmen milled around the yard throughout the day. A crew abandoned work on a cattle train at day's end, and workers refused to replace them. Crowds gathered, uncoupled engines, and refused to continue operation until wages were reinstated. When the mayor arrived to quell the crowds and order the arrest of the leaders, he was jeered and ridiculed. Police were powerless to convince workers to operate the trains, and quickly withdrew.

B&O officials sought help from Governor Henry Matthews, who wired Col. Charles Faulkner, Jr., commander of the Berkeley Light Guard, to gather his troops in support of the rail officials. On Tuesday morning, Faulkner's militiamen, many of whom were railroad workers arrived in Martinsburg. As the cattle train moved out of the station with the militia on board, a striker, William Vandergriff, pulled a switch to derail the train. He shot a soldier who tried to restart the train, and was then shot himself. The engineer and fireman left the train volunteers refused to answer Faulkner's call to run the train. Faulkner wired the governor that he was unable to control the situation the crowds and militia were full of strike sympathizers.

What followed was spontaneous combustion. Firemen and rail workers stopped freight traffic along the entire line of the B&O passenger and mail service went uninterrupted. Seventy engines and six hundred freight cars quickly piled up in the Martinsburg yard. Governor Matthews, determined to break the strike, sent in Light Guards from Wheeling they too sided with the strikers, and they were moved from the rail yard to the courthouse. The people of Martinsburg were resolute in their support of the workers. The strikers, it would seem, were successful order was restored.

However, B&O officials wired Washington, D.C. to request the employment of the U.S. Army, even suggesting that the Secretary of War be apprised of the situation. Faulkner wired Governor Matthews that a "bloody conflict" incited by railroad workers would prove too much for his small militia the governor in turn, backed by an appeal from B&O president, wired President Hayes for help.

As the strike spread along the web of rail lines, the pattern remained the same: workers react to the pay cuts with a work stoppage officials attempt to run the trains with militia and volunteers attempts are abandoned due to popular support of the rail workers.

Wage cuts began earlier, June first, on the Pennsylvania Railroad the Brotherhood of Engineers, Conductors and Firemen did nothing to protect its members, and workers took matters into their own hands. But wages were not the only working conditions at issue on railroads. Workers disapproved of the "first crew in, first crew out" system, which left workers no rest or family time. The length of the work day was calculated by miles rather than hours, and that mileage more than doubled. Runs were irregular, thereby making wages and work schedules erratic. No overtime pay was granted reduction in crews meant longer hours, harder work handling extra cars.

Railroad brotherhoods, organized to assist workers in reaching their goals, were ineffectual delegates were intimidated by rail officials and frequently capitulated to owners' demands without consulting the rank-and-file. And unions were full of spies, spreading word of work stoppages to company officials, who would in turn fire potential strike committee members. This panic would lead committee leaders to deny reports of impending strikes or work actions, leaving locals devoid of union leadership and direction. The Great Upheaval was the result of independent initiatives up and down the rails.

Three hundred federal troops entered Martinsburg on July 19 the workers in Martinsburg were supplanted in their efforts by strikebreakers from Baltimore, who began running the trains under military control. Just when it appeared as though the strike was indeed broken, railroad workers received support from wide-ranging sources: striking boatmen on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal miners from Piedmont, West Virginia boatmen, migrant workers, and young boys at Cumberland, Maryland. The president of the B&O, recognizing the possible extent of the strike, urged Maryland Governor John Carroll to call up the National Guard. Again, met by large numbers of labor sympathizers, the militia was driven back Governor Carroll wired President Hayes for the U.S. Army.

During the same week, the Pennsylvania Railroad ordered a change in the operation of all freights running eastward from Pittsburgh, resulting in more work and increased danger of accidents and layoffs. Again, crew members independently refused to obey orders. Word of the strike spread quickly, and so did the arrival of militia.

On Sunday, July 22, militia dispersed an angry crowd with threats of gunfire in Buffalo, New York on Monday, the crowd returned armed, pushed aside the militia, and forced the closing of the Erie roundhouse. By that evening, all major railroads abandoned attempts at moving anything but local passenger trains out of Buffalo.

Strike actions took place in sympathy around the nation: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - shops closed Zanesville, Ohio - hotel construction halted, factories and foundries shut down Toledo, Ohio - general strike, calling for a minimum wage of $1.50 per day Texas and Pacific Railroad workers in Marshall, Texas, strike against the ten per cent cut. African-American workers in the South struck for equal pay to white workers in Galveston, Texas black sewer workers in Louisville, Kentucky, initiated a strike that within three days involved coopers, textile workers, brick makers, cabinet workers and factory workers. Within a week after it began in Martinsburg, the railroad strike reached East St. Louis, where 500 members of the St. Louis Workingmen's Party joined 1,000 railroad workers and residents. Strikers in St. Louis continued operation of non-freight trains themselves, collecting fares rail officials would have preferred to have all service extinguished, so that passengers would discredit the strikers and side with the companies.

For all of its fervor and support, the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 ended by August 1, unsuccessful, its workers no better off at the end than when it began. Workers did not receive pay raises legislation strengthened anti-union attitudes, and state militias were increased. What went wrong? In many ways, the very spontaneity of the strike was its own undoing the workers were, after all, unorganized. The strike evolved, or erupted, because of a collective dissatisfaction with workers' loss of control to company bosses, and an almost subliminal idea that their power lay in mutual support. The workers overthrew established authority and control, but were unable to sustain the momentum or unity as the strike grew. After initially being ousted, forces of law and order regrouped in short order and were able to marshal their forces swiftly and confidently. In cities such as Chicago, Civil War veterans were organized ward by ward civilians were sworn in as special police, freeing regular police for strike-related duty. The general public feared the violence of the workers many editorials and pundits aligned their actions with those of the 1871 Paris Commune uprising. Whispers and headlines included the words "socialists," "anarchists," and "communists." Behind all local and state efforts to break the strike was the federal government, with its military and legislative muscle.

Ultimately the strike involved more than 100,000 railroad workers in fourteen states they walked off their jobs, smashed cars and pulled up tracks in Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Toledo, Louisville, Buffalo, and San Francisco. Before service was restored, more than 100 were dead, hundreds injured, thousands jailed, $5 million of property destroyed.

The Great Strike of 1877 is memorable for being the first of many to follow. Its dramatic display of cooperative power virtually ceased the movements of society and commerce. This lesson was not lost on business owners, many of whom thought twice about cutting wages in the near future. Some companies in the 1880s initiated labor reforms, providing death benefits, limited medical services, and pension plans for their workers. The Workingmen's Party gained a national presence. And, in 1878, the opponents of workers' revolts began constructing the protective armories.


Pullman Strike

The Pullman Strike of 1894 was one of the most influential events in the history of U.S. labor. What began as a walkout by railroad workers in the company town of Pullman, Illinois, escalated into the country's first national strike. The events surrounding the strike catapulted several leaders to prominence and brought national focus to issues concerning labor unrest, SOCIALISM, and the need for new efforts to balance the economic interests of labor and capitalism.

In 1859, 28-year-old George M. Pullman, an ambitious entrepreneur who had moved from New York to Chicago, found success as a building contractor. When a new sewage system was installed that necessitated the raising of downtown buildings by ten feet, he ran a business where he oversaw large teams of men working with huge jacks to raise the buildings. Pullman quickly became wealthy.

Continuing his penchant for innovation, Pullman turned in 1867 to the subject of railroad travel and created a new line of luxury railroad cars featuring comfortable seating, restaurants, and improved sleeping accommodations. As demand for the "Pullman coaches" grew, Pullman further demonstrated his financial acumen. He did not sell his sleeping cars instead he leased them to railroad companies. By 1893, the Pullman Company operated over 2,000 cars on almost every major U.S. railroad, and the company was valued at $62 million.

A firm believer in capitalism and moral uplift, Pullman gathered a group of investors and began to build the nation's first model industrial town near Lake Calumet on the southwest edge of Chicago. Between 1880 and 1884, the village of Pullman was built on 4,000 acres. In addition to the company's manufacturing plants, the town contained a hotel, a school, a library, a church, and office buildings as well as parks and recreational facilities. Houses were well-built brick structures that featured cutting-edge conveniences of the era such as indoor plumbing and gas heat. Other innovations included regular garbage pick-up, a modern sewer system, and landscaped streets. An equally firm believer in the necessity of making a profit, Pullman operated his town as he operated his company, leasing the housing to his workers and selling them food, gas, and water at a 10 percent markup.

A significant drop in the country's gold reserves, prodigious spending of U.S. Treasury surpluses, and the passage in 1890 of the Sherman Silver Act led to the financial panic of 1893. The ensuing corporate failures, mass layoffs of workers, and bank closings plunged the country into a major depression. In response, the Pullman Company fired more than a third of the workforce and instituted reduced hours and wage cuts of more than 25 percent for the remaining hourly employees. Because Pullman had promised the town's investors a 6 percent return, there was no corresponding reduction in the rents and other charges paid by the workers. Rent was deducted directly from their paychecks, leaving many workers with no money to feed and clothe their families.

In desperation, many workers joined the newly established American Railway Union (ARU) that claimed a membership of 465 local unions and 150,000 workers. ARU organizer and president EUGENE V. DEBS had become nationally prominent when he led a short but successful strike against the Great Northern Railway in early 1894. In May 1894, the workers struck the Pullman Company. Debs directed the strike and widened its scope, asking other train workers outside Chicago to refuse to work on trains that included Pullman cars. While the workers did agree to permit trains carrying the U.S. mail to operate as long as they did not contain Pullman cars, the railroads refused to compromise. Instead, they added Pullman cars to all their trains, including the ones that only transported freight.

Despite repeated attempts by the union to discuss the situation with Pullman, he refused to negotiate. As the strike spread, entire rail lines were shut down. The railroads quickly formed the General Managers Association (GMA) and announced that switchmen who did not move rail cars would be fired immediately. The ARU responded with a union-wide walkout. By the end of June, 50,000 railroad workers had walked off their jobs.

The economic threat and sporadic violence led the GMA to call for federal troops to be brought in. Illinois governor John P. Altgeld, who was sympathetic to the cause of the striking workers, refused the request for troops. In July, U.S. attorney general RICHARD OLNEY, who supported the GMA, issued a broad INJUNCTION called the Omnibus Indictment that prohibited strikers and union representatives from attempting to persuade workers to abandon their jobs.

When striking workers were read the indictment and refused to disperse, Olney obtained a federal court injunction holding the workers in CONTEMPT and, in effect, declaring the strike illegal. When the workers still refused to end the strike, Debs and other leaders were arrested and Olney requested the federal troops saying they were needed to move the mail. presidente GROVER CLEVELAND sent more than 2,000 troops to Chicago, and fighting soon broke out between the rioting strikers and soldiers. Soldiers killed more than a dozen workers and wounded many more.

With strike leaders in prison and a growing public backlash over the looting and ARSON committed by some striking workers, the strike was effectively broken. Most of the workers returned to their jobs in August, although some were blacklisted and never again worked for the railroads. Debs was charged with contempt of court for disobeying the court injunction and conspiracy to obstruct the U.S. mail. CLARENCE DARROW, an attorney who had quit his job as general counsel of the Chicago and North Western Railway, defended Debs and the other ARU leaders, but they were convicted and spent six months in prison. They were released in November 1895.

Darrow went on to become a prominent defense attorney as well as a well-known public orator. Debs, whose contempt of court conviction was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in In re Debs, 158 U.S. 564, 15 S.Ct. 900, 39 L.Ed. 1092 (1895), was further radicalized by his experiences. In high demand as a popular speaker particularly in the industrial states of the North, Debs became the influential leader of the Socialist Party, running for president several times between 1900 and 1920.

Pullman, who continued to regard himself as a morally upright man despite the critical findings of a presidential commission appointed to investigate the strike, died in 1897. Fearful that his body might be degraded or stolen by former strikers, Pullman's family had his body buried in a concrete and steel casket in a tomb covered with steel-reinforced concrete. In 1971, the former "company" town of Pullman was designated as a national landmark district.

The Pullman Strike of 1894 and its aftermath had an indelible effect on the course of the labor movement in the United States. The use of federal troops and the labor injunction sent a message to U.S. workers that would not change until the NEW DEAL of the 1930s. The polarization of management and labor would continue for decades.


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