Working with the New York City Central Labor Union, a coalition of trade unionists, socialists, Knights of Labor, and reformers launched a campaign in 1886 to elect Henry George as mayor of the city. A well-known reformer and author of Progress and Poverty
, George opposed monopolies and favored land reform, equal pay for equal work, an end to government use of contract labor, and the public ownership of utilities.
The coalition behind the campaign was unusual because many of the groups involved were often locked in bitter controversy – trade unions regularly vied with KOL assemblies; socialists and land reformers were often at odds; and the various immigrant groups in the city usually kept to their own kind.
However these disparate groups managed to work together in the campaign. They published The Leader
, a newspaper that was produced by local journalists (who donated their time), financed by local trade unions, and printed at the New Yorker Volkszeitung
’s facilities. They hostedmass meetings and established campaign organizations in every precinct and trade.