Carnegie's mighty steel industry was not immune to the downturn. In 1890, the price of rolled-steel products started to decline, dropping from $35 a gross ton to $22 early in 1892. In the face of depressed steel prices, Henry C. Frick, general manager of the Homestead plant that Carnegie largely owned, was determined to cut wages and break the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, one of the strongest craft unions in the country.
Behind the scenes, Carnegie supported Frick's plans. In the spring of 1892, Carnegie had Frick produce as much armor plate as possible before the union's contract expired at the end of June. If the union failed to accept Frick's terms, Carnegie instructed him to shut down the plant and wait until the workers buckled. "We... approve of anything you do," Carnegie wrote from England in words he would later come to regret. "We are with you to the end."
With Carnegie's carte blanche support, Frick moved to slash wages.
American Experience . The Richest Man in the World: Andrew Carnegie . People & Events | The Homestead Strike | PBS