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Knights Across the AtlanticThe Knights of Labor in Britain and Ireland$
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Steven Parfitt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383186

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383186.001.0001

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date: 20 July 2018

The Knights in Industry

The Knights in Industry

(p.109) 4 The Knights in Industry
Knights Across the Atlantic

Steven Parfitt

Liverpool University Press

The history of the British and Irish Knights was defined to a large extent by their approach to industrial relations, which followed the industrial prescriptions of their American leaders to the letter. They insisted on arbitration rather than conflict, boycotts rather than strikes, and tried to put their resources into co-operative enterprises of various kinds. This chapter also explores how these attitudes played out in a number of industrial disputes and helped to determine the rise and fall of the British and Irish assemblies. In places where arbitration was common or when economic conditions were poor, Knights did well. Once trade improved and workers began to think about strike action, however, the Knights found themselves opposed by many of their own or potential members even as they failed to get recognition from employers.

Keywords:   industrial relations, strikes, boycotts, co-operation, Terence Powderly, Liverpool, Black Country, Pilkington’s

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