“Cutting Into the Meatpacking Line: Workers and Change in the Rural Midwest” book, by Deborah Fink, focuses mainly on showing what was happening in the meatpacking’s industry in the rural Midwest of Iowa. It shows that the key factors in the creation the history of the rural working class depended on the different experiences that gender, ethnic and racial minorities faced during the working years in the meatpacking. It shows the painful process of struggling for recognition of the employees ' rights that women, ethnic and racial minorities faced when they were entering into the meatpacking workforce. Fink wrote her book to inform the reader about what was happening in the meatpacking industry of Iowa the old days, and how women, ethnic and racial minorities faced a lot of segregation, discrimination, harassment, and unequal wages. What does Fink mean when she once said “The union, in digging in its heels to preserve the old system, conceded gender to the manipulation of packing companies, thereby contributing to the deterioration of conditions for all workers (Fink, P. 112)”? What was the old system look alike? Moreover, what was the impact of the manipulation of gender? The old system was supporting the gender division in the workplace. This division had generated workplace’s conflict and inequality between different gender in the workplace of Iowa. Started by rural working class women before 1940 when the society thought that women 's works were indecent. Even though,
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Since the Gilded Age, workers, especially women, had been fighting for union rights and workers’ rights. By the 1930s, unions had made substantial progress in the industrial workforce. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) had been around for more than fifty years, and it organized labor movements and union groups. However, the AFL did not recognize the problems of agricultural jobs.1 Cannery Women, Cannery Lives, by Vicki Ruíz, shows the poor working and living conditions of Mexican women who worked in agriculture and explains how and why they created and structured unions in agriculture, without the initial support of the AFL. This book focuses on the 1930s, an era when both Mexicans and women were
Women’s history in the United States has always been represented as a struggle for rights. Wealth and status were tied to either their fathers or husbands. In the early 1900s, women were afforded the traditional roles of society. The majority of women worked in the home. If they were of the 18% young or poor women, they also worked in factories as laborers, manufacturing items for the booming industrial revolution (U.S. Department of Labor, 1980). During this time period the workplace was not in compliance with current safety standards. There was no minimum wage yet, work conditions were horrible and they worked long hours, “In 1900, the average workweek in manufacturing was 53 hours,” (Fisk, 2003). Women took “pink
Broadway, Michael; Cut to the Bone; How changes in meatpacking have created the most vulnerable worker in Alberta; Published in Vol 15, No 4, May 2012, pgs 36-41. Retrieved from
In the Rusty Belt of America there a minority group of people whose income level has surpassed the poverty line. Inside the state of Ohio lies the poorest white American which describes themselves as hillbillies as they reside in the eastern Kentucky. In his personal analysis of culture in crisis of hillbillies, J.D. Vance tries to explain, in his memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, what goes on in the lives of people as the economy goes south in a culture that is culturally deceptive, family deceptive, and in a community, whose doctrine of loyalty is heavily guarded. Like every poor Scot-Irish hillbilly in his community, Vance came from being poor, like the rest of his kind, to be a successful Law graduate from Yale Law school. As result of this transition and being the only child in his family to graduate from a highly respected intuition in the country, Vance thought out to analyze the ostensible reason of why many people are poor in his community.
Workers in Packingtown were subject to conditions similar to slavery. Sinclair describes the situation explaining that “they were tied to the great packing machine, and tied to it for life” (Sinclair 94). Most of the workers could not escape the grasps of the Beef Trust, a monopoly on the beef industry that was above even the law. They were forced to work in dangerous and filthy conditions, earning barely any compensation for their work. All of the workers were seen as “cogs in the great packing machine,” replaceable and cheap (Sinclair 74). By objectifying their workers as simply moving parts to a machine, employers could find moral high ground in the poor and inhumane working conditions, and they could replace old and damaged “parts” with new ones without so much as thinking about what they had done for that worker. Sinclair hoped to promote Socialism with these depictions, spending the last few chapters of the book detailing how Socialism could fix all of the problems detailed in the beginning. His ideas of “‘Communism in material production, anarchism in intellectual’” were never realized in the United States (Sinclair 291). He believed that people should be given equal resources and then allowed to have as much intellectual gain as they wanted. The general public did not respond to this argument. They saw the problem in a different perspective, blaming not capitalism but
As hardworking women living of the prairie, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters can relate to Mrs. Wright’s situation. They know personally that long days of doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning can become very tiresome (Hedges 91). They realize that living on the prairie can force a woman to be confined to her own house for weeks at a time, and because Mrs. Wright never had children, the grueling loneliness that she suffered must have been excruciating. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters both experience the constant patronization and sexual discrimination that most women in the early twentieth century lived with. They empathize with the difficulties of Mrs. Wright’s life and almost immediately a bond is formed with a woman they do not even know.
Throughout the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, there were several instances were white American manhood was threatened. In “Meat vs. Rice,” Rosanne Currarino argues how in the late nineteenth century American workers expressed anti-Chinese views because of anxieties related to the decline of property ownership and increase in manufacturing wage work. These views reflected the changing views of work and manhood, as the “heroic artisan” disappeared and wage work became the norm for most working men. Despite these new challenges, white wage workers reasserted their status by using racialized and gendered language of the anti-Chinese movement to create new understandings of producerism. In the end, male workers wanted to maintain their roles as breadwinners, and consumers.  There were also other cases where changes in work threatened the male breadwinner and his manhood. Paul Michael Taillon in “Casey Jones Better Watch Your Speed,” argues that nineteenth-century railroad workers embraced their
In the early twentieth century, at the height of the progressive movement, “Muckrakers” had uncovered many scandals and wrong doings in America, but none as big the scandals of Americas meatpacking industry. Rights and responsibilities were blatantly ignored by the industry in an attempt to turn out as much profit as possible. The meat packers did not care if poor working conditions led to sickness and death. They also did not care if the spoiled meat they sold was killing people. The following paper will discuss the many ways that rights and responsibilities were not being fulfilled by the meat packing industry.
Many rural workers, desperate for the insignificant waged provided in an industry that only union-organized by the largely ineffective and compliant United Food and Commercial Workers had a couple months before workers were burned out by the rapid pace and injurious work environment. Fink, who only worked for four months at Perry’s IBP plant, lasted longer than many of her coworkers. Since 1960, increased employment of nonwhites changed for the meatpacking industry. In Perry’s IBP plant in the early 1990’s, Fink explains that about one-third of the rural workers were Latino, about one-tenth were black, and lastly the other one-tenth Asian. The majority of these workers were not
At a time when labour unions were gaining in memberships, organization, and bargaining power, women in the workforce made marginal gains during this period considering the booming economy. Sociologically, a healthy economy should in theory provide the framework for change. When citizens have low unemployment and more money in their pockets, time and attention is less directed at bread and butter issues like sustenance and poverty, and aimed at equality and social progress. For women unfortunately, this was not necessarily the case. Their battle with employers was still a struggle between classes than gender parity. Male union leadership would naturally further male worker interests first,8 and this shows a culture of sexism in the workplace that was clearly difficult for working women to overcome. Even union-dues paying women rarely openly questioned their subordination as a sex.9 They were most likely outnumbered and the consequences of being a whistle blower did not want to be entertained. In the mindset of women who worked however, was a developing identity as female wage earners and unionists.10
The two articles, Bound Labor in Southern Agriculture and The Lives and Labors of the Cotten Mill People are tied together by the common theme; labor. Throughout reading these articles we learn about the lives of the tenants, planters, mill workers, and mill owners. We studied the differences and similarities of the lives of African American men and families who were still in the labor force and how freedom wasn't so free for them. We also learned about the mill workers and their way of life.
Before war, it was unheard of to have women participate in big companies with successful men. However, after their husbands left, it was time for women to take over the house work and other jobs to keep the economy running. Finally, “American women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers during the World War II, as well widespread male enlistment left gaping holes in the industrial labor force” (History.com Staff). However, even though women were taking on the same roles as men, that doesn’t mean they received the same amount of respect. There still remains mistreatment, forced subservience, and even the devaluation of females, as well as an exploitation of their
Schlosser dedicates majority of the novel to the meatpacking industries and its close, intimate relationship with the fast food industry. Over the last fifty years, meatpacking have gone from being a well-paid and desirable position, to a minimum wage labor supplied mainly by illiterate, illegal immigrants (Schlosser 154). A new meatpacking system integrated in the 1960s quickened production rate by implanting the ideology of the assembly line and
Gilman would propose that this would fall under her gynaecocentric theory where men were too powerful and women were slowly moved from the productive sphere and were exploited. Chafetz proposes that these women were in the meso level of her coercive structure. Women held positions such as nurses to help aid the men, while there was no chance of them advancing or even getting paid. This was also based on an unintentional change because men were out at war and so women were left to take over some positions to fill the gaps. In the 1900’s everything began to change for women. Men went to fight at WWI so their positions as airplane and automotive mechanics, truck drivers and police officers had to be replenished (Women, 2010). Women were also discouraged from taking jobs from men. Some states even forbid Image source: http://school.discoveryeducation.com