1900 To 1910

As we enter the 20th century, to illustrate the events that affected the Ironworker and Chicago and to give a taste of the times, we’ll be using newspaper headlines in addition to photographs.

The first ten years of the new century started out reasonably well for the Ironworkers with “everyone working” in 1901 and making about $2.50 a day, despite the massive problems in this time period. It ended with the Ironworkers going from being the lowest paid workers in the building trades to one of the highest at $4.30 for a eight hour day in 1911.

Two events in this decade highlighted the struggles between the building trades and a determined, well funded and brutal enemy who waged a relentless war to destroy all unions in the country, but especially the Ironworkers.

Negotiations, agreements and finally a strike that lasted 32 years.

Guerrilla Unionism, the Dynamite Campaign.

In addition, other actions and tragedies while not directly affecting a particular Ironworker, shows the environment of Chicago in the areas of:


Lax building codes and enforcement as shown in the Iroquois Theatre Fire