History of Labour in the United States - Vol. 2

By John R. Commons; David J. Saposs et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE WAR PERIOD, 1861-1865

War and Prices. The lethargy of the trade unions, 13. The legal tender acts, 14. War prosperity and its beneficiaries, 14. Cost of living and wages, 15.

The Labour Press. Fincher's Trades' Review, 15. The Workingmen's Advocate, 16. The Daily Evening Voice, 16. Other papers, 17. Local Unions. Incentive for organigation, 17. The wave of organisation during the War, 18.

Trades' Assemblies. Progress of the Trades' assemblies, 22. Strikes, 23. The functions of the trades' assemblies, 23. The Philadelphia trades' assembly -- a typical assembly, 24.

Employers' Associations. Local and national associations, 26. The Employers' General Association of Michigan, 26. Reply of the trade unions, 29. Richard F. Trevellick, 29. The New York Master Builders' Association, 29. Master mechanics of Boston, 30. Associated employers and the eight-hour movement of 1872, 31. Attempted "exclusive agreement," 32. Attitude towards trade agreements, 33.

The International Industrial Assembly of North America. The national trade unions and federation, 33. The trades' assemblies and federation, 34. The Louisville call, 34. The convention in Louisville, 35. Assistance during strikes, 36. Attitude towards co-operation and legislation, 37. The constitution and the national trade unions, 37. Politics, 38. The causes of failure, 38.

Distributive Co-operation. Cost of living, 39. Thomas Phillips, 39. The Rochdale plan, 40. The turn towards productive co-operation, 41.


WAR AND PRICES

THE first effects of the War were the paralysis of business and the increase in unemployment.1 The combined effect upon the existing labour organisations, both of the industrial disturbance and of the enlistment of their members, was demoralising. At the convention of the machinists and blacksmiths held in Pittsburgh in November, 1861, National Secretary Fincher, the only officer present, reported that the membership in good standing had decreased from 2,717 to 1,898 during the six months from April to October of that year, and that the subordinate unions betrayed but little activity.2 The effect

____________________
1
Rhodes, History of the United States, III, 122, 162, 171.
2
International Union of Machinists and Blacksmiths of the United States of America, Proceedings, 1861, p. 21.

-13-

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