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            The first large national labor organization to become popular was the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor. Garment workers in Philadelphia who believed that one union of skilled and unskilled workers should exist founded it in 1869. (Merkel 34) The leader of the knights was a garment cutter as well a former Baptist minister named Uriah Stephens who later resigned in the early 1800s and Terence V. Powerdly took over (Merkel 36) The Knights spoke of " harmonizing the interests of capital and labor," and had little faith in strikes or in the struggle for wage increases and shorter hours. (Lens 37) The union was originally a secret, but later was open to all skilled and non-skilled workers, blacks, women, and farmers. Five hundred thousand workers joined in a year. By 1886 more than 700,000 joined. (Lens 37) Their goals were an eight-hour work day, a minimum wage, arbitration rather than strikes, health and safety laws, equal pay for equal work, no child labor under the age of fourteen, and government ownership of railroads, telegraphs and telephones. However, the Knights of Labor was a relatively weak organization, and eventually fell apart. One of the knight's biggest organizations was founded by Harry Skeffington, which organized a walk out on the cities largest shoe firm, called John Mundell and Co. He organized the strike, because the company was being unfair with the wages. For several weeks none of the seven hundred employees went to work even the women. Mundell settled and Soon the Knights gained more recognition and power (Merkel 34). By 1884 the knights expanded their organization and now had eleven local assemblies each representing different groups of occupations. The knights of laborers became a very organized association handling grievances and arbitrations, in all of the different organizations. Soon word got out of the knight of laborers and other employees followed their guild lines and started protesting and walking out of their jobs.

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