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History of Labor Unions

History of Labor Unions

Henry Clay Frick in History of Labor Unions

Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) became wealthy in the coal and coke business around Pittsburgh during the 1870s. He formed a partnership with steel magnate Andrew Carnegie in 1881 and Frick served as chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company (which would later become U.S. Steel). His hardline stand at the Homestead mills during the 1892 lockout and strike set a tough tone for labor-management relations during the Gilded Age.

During the strike, anarchist Alexander Berkman, enraged at Frick's high-handed treatment of workers, walked into the executive's office on 23 July 1892 and shot him twice at point-blank range. Frick was not seriously wounded. Berkman was sentenced to 22 years but was pardoned in 1906. Frick's mansion on New York's Fifth Avenue was turned into an elegant art gallery after his death.

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