Saturday marks 132 years since the Battle of Homestead — one of the most notorious attacks against workers in American history — and events to commemorate the anniversary are set.

The Battle of Homestead Foundation will offer an in-person program that will link the buildup and aftermath of the 19th-century battle that pitted striking steelworkers against private security forces to issues such as unionization efforts in a variety of industries today. 

“Besides the dollars-and-cents economic issues that drove the conflict in 1892, the strikers fought to establish the fundamental principle that worker rights are human rights,” said Rosemary Trump, a Battle of Homestead Foundation board member. “That principle is still being contested in our day, and what workers did 132 years ago in Homestead can show us important insights on how to move forward in our time.”

Informational plaques around the Pump House in Munhall help explain the story of the Battle of Homestead to visitors. The deadly conflict took place at the site on July 6, 1892, when the Carnegie Steel Co. brought in private armed guards in an attempt to break a strike at the Homestead Steel Works. (Andrew Goldstein/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

The battle occurred amid a strike that started when Carnegie Steel attempted to increase profits by altering the pay scale for union workers at the Homestead Steel Works, resulting in pay cuts for employees who already were barely living off meager wages and working in extremely dangerous conditions. 

Unhappy with the stop in production, Carnegie Steel hired Pinkerton agents, a private paramilitary force, to disperse strikers and reopen the mill with nonunion workers.

On the morning of July 6, 1892, as strikebreakers landed ashore at the mill’s Monongahela River pumping facility, a melee ensued, leaving 12 dead and hundreds wounded while garnering attention from around the globe. 

“The 1892 steel strike was a defining event in America’s ongoing struggle to ensure workplace rights,” said John Haer, president of the Battle of Homestead Foundation. “Observing the anniversary lets us reflect on the role of organized labor in fighting the extreme economic inequality endangering our nation in 2024.”

The free Battle of Homestead commemoration event is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Pump House at 880 E. Waterfront Drive in Munhall and includes live music from the May Day Marching Band and Pittsburgh Labor Choir. Picnic refreshments will be available, and attendees may contribute their own food and beverages.

Informational plaques around the Pump House in Munhall. (Andrew Goldstein/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Andrew writes about education and more for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Andrew Goldstein

Andrew writes about education and more for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at