Chinese Immigration to the USA: Background information when reading Take Me Home

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Take Me Home

by Brian Leung

Take Me Home
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2010, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2011, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Beyond the Book:
Chinese Immigration to the USA

During much of the second half of the 19th century, the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) was able to maintain a monopoly on coal production because it controlled the only means of transportation into the Western territories. Thus it owned and operated all the coalmines, fixed coal prices to its own benefit and was able to establish its own standards - or lack of - for employee treatment and compensation. In 1875, UP cut the piecework rate paid to miners by one-fifth but made no corresponding reduction in prices charged at the Company stores. When the miners went on strike, UP responded by practicing a kind of reverse outsourcing, replacing striking laborers with recently immigrated Chinese laborers who accepted the lower pay.

Indignation and antipathy by White laborers escalated until it erupted on September 2, 1885, when it was rumored that miners in Colorado were receiving a pay raise but those in Rock Springs, Wyoming were not. Welsh and Swedish miners in Rock Springs...

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