In 1892, the country’s largest trade union, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, took on the world’s largest manufacturing firm, the Carnegie Steel Corporation. Carnegie’s plant manager Henry Clay Frick increased production demands, but refused to increase wages. Frick eventually locked workers out of the facility spurring a strike.
Only about a fifth of the workers at the Homestead Works Steel Mill were skilled workers represented by the union. But the nearly 3,000 workers agreed to strike for better wages and working conditions.