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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Hall of Honor Inductee

The Chinese Railroad Workers

Photo: Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and Museum.

The Chinese Railroad Workers
(1865 — 1869)

From 1865-1869, 12,000 Chinese immigrants constructed the western section of the transcontinental railroad — one of the greatest engineering feats in American history. Their efforts, which connected the western United States to the eastern United States, laid the foundation for the extraordinary economic prosperity enjoyed by the United States in the years that followed. Many of these workers risked their lives and perished during the harsh winters and dangerous working conditions. They faced prejudice, low wages and social isolation. Despite these challenges, they courageously took a stand to organize for fairer wages and safer working conditions. Their efforts not only bridged our nation together, they advanced the cause of good, safe jobs for all workers, immigrant and native workers alike.

 

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