Chicago Tribune -- May 09, 1876Yesterday's Proletarian Riot.
The Bohemian and Polish laborers in the lumberyards in the southwest quarter of the city who were called on by the proprietors to accept $1.25 per day instead of $1.50 on account of the great depression in business, struck, and refused to work at the rate, as they had a right to do, But there were plenty of Germans, and Irish, and Americans destitute of employment who were glad to take the vacant places. But this enraged the strikers, who demanded $1.75 per day, and, under the influence of Communist demagogues, resolved that the other workmen should not be employed, but that they must be taken back at advanced wages, and they proceeded to mob both the workmen and the employers. A large proportion of these Bohemians had been idle during the winter months, as the bulk of the work consists of unloading vessels, sorting and piling lumber.2
Their refusal to work, under these circumstances, and in the present hard times, was a folly which only ignorant men would commit, since, including their families, some 2,000 or 3,000 people are dependent on their employment at this season of the year. But since they have resorted to violence and an attempted interference with the right of other men to labor at any price they choose to accept, it is no longer a question of the policy of the strikers, but simply an emergency requiring the strong arms of authority to suppress quickly and summarily the mob-violence incited against it. There is at present truce between the strikers and the employers, but it has been obtained by a practical abandonment of work, and the terrorism which the strikers sought to establish virtually exists. The moral force of this must be broken, and the right of free men to free labor established beyond the reach of menace.
I D 2 a 4, I D 2 a 4
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