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The New York Times Predicts a Railroad Strike, 1885

This New York Times article from September 1885 makes reference to the tensions that existed between organized labor and Chinese immigrant workers on the Union Pacific and other railroad lines. According to the article, the Knights of Labor, the foremost labor organization of the time, were threatening to strike if Chinese laborers, whom white workers viewed as a source of unfair competition, were not dismissed. In addition to highlighting the racial animosities that festered between organized white labor and Chinese-Americans, the article also alludes to the ominous threat of violence portended by the murder of a Chinese worker and the presence of federal troops standing by to put down the impending strike.



Omaha, Sept. 16
. Gen Howard has received dispatches from Col. Chittenden to command of the troops stationed at Rock Springs saying that he fears the most serious trouble within the next 48 hours. He is informed and believes that the knights of Labor have ordered a strike all along the line of the Union Pacific Railway…

Rumors have been afloat several days that a strike on the Union Pacific was threatened if the company did not discharge the Chinese miners in its employ. Two weeks ago, after the murder of the Chinese, a committee of miners and businessmen started for Omaha to confer with the railroad people here about the situation at Rock Springs. The committee never reached this city, and it is now learned that it was intercepted by Knights of Labor . . .

Source | "Trouble Expected," The New York Times, 17 September 1885.
Creator | The New York Times
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | The New York Times, “The New York Times Predicts a Railroad Strike, 1885,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 26, 2023,

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