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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KNIGHTS OF LABOR DISTRICT ASSEMBLY NO. 47

KNIGHTS OF LABOR DISTRICT ASSEMBLY NO. 47

The KNIGHTS OF LABOR DISTRICT ASSEMBLY NO. 47 was an early local labor coalition that preceded the trade union bodies later formed by the AFL and the CIO. The assembly had its origin in the Industrial Council of 1874 but soon became affiliated with the Knights of Labor as the Trades & Labor Assembly No. 47. Within a decade some 50 locals constituted District No. 47, and the local Knights, who sought to replace the wage system with a more equitable distribution of wealth, received support from activists such as LOUIS B. TUCKERMAN and MARTIN A. FORAN. Since anyone other than lawyers and saloon keepers could join the organization, the meetings were fertile territory for local politicians and business promoters, who took the workmen further away from workplace-oriented goals. As a result, workers abandoned the group for the newly formed Central Labor Union (see CLEVELAND FEDERATION OF LABOR). Chartered by the AFL, the new body was organized by craft and waged many jurisdictional fights with the Knights. By 1900 only 14 K of L locals remained, while the District Assembly No. 47 dropped from the city directory in 1903.