The Rail Strike of 1916

The Rail Strike of 1916 (HMTM1)

Location: Herndon, VA 20170 Fairfax County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 58.172', W 77° 23.079'

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In the years before motor vehicles came to dominate transportation, business was never better for the Washington & Old Dominion Railway. Demand for passenger and freight service boomed, while the W&OD's owners balked at spending the money necessary to keep the line running smoothly.

The increasing dissatisfaction of the workers coincided with a campaign by the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railroad Employees to unionize area rail workers. In the spring of 1916 many W&OD employees joined the union, and, on April 5, they called a strike.

Demands included recognition of the union, adoption of a 10-hour work day with overtime, and a wage increase for conductors and motormen from $3 to $4 a day. Negotiations involved such prominent figures as American Federation of Labor President Samuel Gompers and legendary labor organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones.

Union members were fired. Rail cars were vandalized and derailed (see below). W&OD owners hired armed private detectives to protect company property. By the end of the year the strike was called off, but labor troubles plagued the railroad for many years to come.

Credits: Background photograph - Courtesy Thomas Underwood. Photograph upper right - Courtesy Milton Riley Family. Exhibit planning and design - Jane Hanna, Leesburg, Va. This wayside exhibit was made possible through a grant from the Virginia Recreational Trails Fund Program of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
HM NumberHMTM1
Series This marker is part of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad series
Placed ByWashington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park and The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 12:14am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 293407 N 4316100
Decimal Degrees38.96953333, -77.38465000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 58.172', W 77° 23.079'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 58' 10.32" N, 77° 23' 4.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703, 571
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2091 Washington and Old Dominion Trail, Herndon VA 20170, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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