Differences Of Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick And The Homestead Strike

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Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and the Homestead Strike Industrialists Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick could not have come from more different backgrounds. Carnegie was born in the Scottish town of Dunfermline to a very poor family in 1835. When he was 12 years old, his father, a weaver, decided to move the family to the United States in search of better prospects, arriving at what was then the municipality of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now part of Pittsburgh’s North Side. By that time, Pittsburgh was already known as a major center for the production of steel and other metals. In 1853, at the age of 18, Carnegie was hired as a telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and became a protégé of Thomas A. Scott, who would soon rise…show more content…
After a decade of successful growth for the company, the relationship between the two men would sour due to their differing opinions on labor relations, which came to a head with the Homestead Strike in 1892. Relations between industrialists, authorities and labor unions at the time were often contentious and on occasion violent: in May 1886, the Haymarket affair in Chicago and the Bay View massacre in Milwaukee resulted in several deaths. In 1891, Frick himself was involved in an event known as the Morewood massacre, when the Pennsylvania Army National Guard opened fire on a crowd of striking United Mine Workers, killing nine employees of one of Frick’s coke…show more content…
At the Homestead Steel Works outside Pittsburgh, which had been purchased by Carnegie in 1883, the chairman blamed the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers for low production, and with the expiry of the collective bargaining agreement approaching, he saw an opportunity to reduce the union’s power. Carnegie, who was an open supporter of unions, nevertheless agreed with Frick in the case of Homestead, because he considered AA to be a corrupt organization that did not properly represent the workers. In fact, only about 800 of the 3,800 employees at Homestead were members of AA (Krass 277). At the negotiations, AA leaders requested a wage increase. Frick countered with a proposal for a significant decrease and threatened to stop recognizing the union if it did not agree to the new terms, as Carnegie had authorized him to do. On June 29, 1892, the day before the end of the current contract, Frick locked out the Homestead workers. In protest, AA began a major organized strike, preventing the steel works from hiring replacement laborers and reopening. Carnegie and Frick requested assistance from local authorities, but they were ineffective in dispersing the

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