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United We Stand: Industry and Famous Strikes

Sep 7 2009
Instructions
Parade banner of Veterans of the Haymarket Riot, 1895

As the work of another school year begins, Labor Day reminds us to honor the nation's workers. Since the rise of industry, workers have used strikes and other forms of protest to demand change and recognition. Select the correct answer for each of the labor-related questions below.


  1. Labor statistics map, Historical Census BrowserWhat U.S. census data does this map portray?
    A.

    The 1930 relative concentration of “totally unemployed persons registered” in each state.

    B.

    The 1870 relative amount of “total capital invested (in dollars) in manufacturing” in each state.

    C.

    The 1920 relative concentration of “manufacturing establishments” in each state.

    D.

    The 1950 relative concentration of “employed females” in each state.


  2. On May 4, 1886, a peaceful workers’ rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square ended in death and confusion when a dynamite bomb was thrown into a line of approaching police officers. The Haymarket Affair received nationwide media attention and the trials of the alleged guilty parties went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Four of the accused were hung and a 5th committed suicide.

    What reform was the rally supporting?
    A.

    The removal of hazardous parts-manufacturing machinery from a McCormick Harvesting Machine Company plant.

    B.

    The passing of a minimum-wage law in the state of Illinois.

    C.

    The paying of compensation to workers who suffered debilitating injuries from repetitive factory work.

    D.

    The institution of the 8-hour workday.


  3. On February 6, 1919, more than 60,000 Seattle workers refused to work, marking the high point of a series of strikes and unrest that started in January 1919. The first labor action to effectively shut down an entire city, this strike hoped to secure what result?
    A.

    The reinstatement of workers ousted by returning soldiers.

    B.

    A pay raise for the city’s shipyard workers.

    C.

    The cessation of all U.S. hostilities against the Bolshevik Red Army in Russia and of any support for forces opposing the Red Army.

    D.

    A stop to the installation of new machinery that would reduce the work force necessary in the shipyards.


  4. On December 30, 1936, the workers at Flint, Michigan’s General Motors automobile plant began a 6-week strike to press for better working conditions. Organized by the United Auto Workers, the strike used what relatively unusual technique to make its point?
    A.

    Strikers not only stopped working during the strike, but left town entirely, taking their families with them.

    B.

    Strikers remained entirely silent during the strike.

    C.

    Strikers, instead of picketing outside of the factory, occupied the factory, preventing upper management and law enforcement from entering.

    D.

    Strikers sabotaged the factory’s power supply, re-sabotaging it whenever plant management repaired it.