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Hugh O'Donnell, who worked as a heater at the Homestead plant, was among the leaders of the strike, and was in fact chosen by his co-workers as chairman of the strike committee. O'Donnell and his fellow strikers kept the Pinkerton agents hired by Henry Clay Frick to force their way into the plant at bay, and accepted their surrender. His inability to keep striking workers from abusing the Pinkertons after their surrender hurt the workers' cause in the eyes of many people. O'Donnell lost his position as chairman when, after the attempted assassination of Frick by anarchist Alexander Berkman, he proposed that the workers be allowed to return to their jobs with lower wages in an effort to end the labor impasse.
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