10.19.2009

Dosart Experiment




from Doors of Meyershire County

At the height of the Industrial Revolution, Dosart Village was booming. Its location in the center of Hickory Valley, on the banks of Hickory River, made it a transportation hub with flat bottom boats and trains and wagons on dirt roads all hauling goods to market or supplies to farms and homes. Dosart Village was home to dozens or canneries and tanning operations, as well as the two largest employers, the railroad’s repair shops and a stone cutting yard. As wealth grew so did the divide between the owners and the workers which, as might be expected, lead to union organization. But what was unique in Dosart Village was that it was not workers in one industry that organized together; it was all the workers in all the industries organizing together. It became known as the Dosart Experiment, and years later would be promoted by the young Industrial Workers of the World as “one small village, one big union.” The experiment came to an end in a mass arrest of the leaders of the union roundtable. Gathered in a simple, street level, shuttered room, a dozen labor leaders were meeting to finalize their agreement for the Dosart Workers League when police ordered them all out and jailed on charges of inciting violence. The arrest ended the unions’ efforts to organize. Didn’t matter much anyway for within a decade most of the industries, and their need for labor, had relocated to larger cities. There were no employees to organize.

There’s no marker at the birthplace of the Dosart Experiment, but its noted on a free visitor’s walking tour map.

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