The main reason of the rise of labor unions was the quick industrialization of the US economy. During the post-Civil War period, the US economy became extremely industrialized. This meant that more and more people were working in factories owned by large companies rather than working in small shops for themselves or for small businesses. In addition, large numbers of immigrants were coming to the US. They created a huge pool of labor that made labor prices go down and the quality of working conditions.
Life in the early 1900’s wasn’t easy. Competition for jobs was at an all time high, especially in New York City. Immigrants were flooding in and needed to find work fast, even if that meant in the hot, overcrowded conditions of garment factories. Conditions were horrid and disaster was inevitable, and disaster did strike in March, 1911. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York set on fire, killing 146 workers. This is an important event in US history because it helped accomplish the tasks unions and strikes had tried to accomplish years earlier, It improved working conditions in factories nationwide and set new safety laws and regulations so that nothing as catastrophic would happen again. The workplace struggles became public after
The movement in organized labor from 1875 to 1900 to improve the position of workers was unsuccessful because of the inherent weaknesses of unions and the failures of their strikes, the negative public attitudes toward organized labor, widespread government corruption, and the tendency of government to side with big business. After the Civil there was a push to industrialize quickly, and the rushed industrialization was at the expense of the workers as it led to bigger profits for big business and atrocious working conditions for them; conditions that included long working hours, extremely low wages, and the exploitation of children and immigrants.
In the 1800s and early 1900s working conditions were much harsher than now. Long hours and small wages made up a day in the life of someone living in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The Haymarket Riot was the result of the bombing in Chicago. “In the summer 1886 the campaign for an eight-hour day, long a rallying cry that united American laborers, culminated in a national strike on May 1, 1886. Between 300,000 and 500,000 workers struck across the country. In Chicago, police forces killed several workers while breaking up protestors at the McCormick reaper works. Labor leaders and radicals called for a protest at Haymarket Square the following day, which police also proceeded to break up. But as they did, a bomb exploded and killed seven policemen. Police fired into the crowd, killing four. The deaths of the Chicago policemen sparked outrage across the nation and the sensationalization of the “Haymarket Riot” helped many Americans to associate unionism with radicalism” (Yawp). As a result of the Haymarket Riot was the loss of members of the Knight of Labor. “The national movement for an eight-hour day collapsed”(Yawp). The Haymarket Riot played an important role in illustrating how labor was in the late 1800s to the
In the second half of the nineteenth century trade unionism became much more recognized by governments. The government recognized that it is the right of workers to organize. This fundamental common law principle became a freedom of contract or the concept that people should be free to make bargains with each other and that the law should enforce such contracts if necessary. This became legalized in the year 1871 and by the year 1875 picketing also became legal. By the year 1884 these unions became legalized by France’s Third Republic and also in Germany in 1890. These unions became corporations able to own property and to sue and be sued. This enabled these unions
Around the early 1900’s, concern for child and women labor grew throughout the American public. In the factories, women faced discrimination as employers would usually pay woman about one-half the salary as a man for the same job received. During this period, working conditions were terrible as these factories were not air-conditioned or heated and women worked for
Robert Wagner, the state senate majority leader, and Alfred E. Smith created bills which led to the Factory Investigating Commission Law that passed on June 30, 1911. Outraged citizens demanded change from Tammany Hall, which was very pro-business, only looking out for people who could give them money. People wanted the government to show that they could represent all people and all workers, not just the wealthy and privileged. Al Smith and Robert Wagner set up a factory investigating commission, which brought along many leading reformers, such as Frances Perkins, who later became the first female Secretary of Labor, Rose Schneiderman, a labor union activist, and Clara Lemich, the “Catalyst of the Shirtwaist Uprising.” The Factory Investigating Commission had investigations all over the state. They looked at fire precautions, wages, and hours. Smith and Wagner even personally inspected the factories, and they were amazed to see young girls working twelve to fourteen hour work days. After four years, the commission ended its investigations and thirty-six of the laws it drafted were passed in New York. Also, in October, the Sullivan-Hoey Fire Prevention Law was
Huge corporations like U.S. Steel owned mass amounts of businesses and land, employing up 170,000 workers. Between 1897 and 1903 approximately half of American families did not even own property and 18 of the 29 million families made an annual wage of around 500$. While large business owners like Andrew Carnegie made $23 million himself. The work force included women and child working for as low as 10 cents for a 10-hour day. These horrendous conditions and pay led to multiple revolts and uprisings in the labor force, but because of the competition for work wages were kept low hindering unions ability to organize. Activist Mother Jones assisted in the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1905. In 1914 strikes finally started getting some traction starting with the “Machine Gun Massacre”. Legislation was put into effect supporting the need for American Labor. Starting with “Gompers noted that the Clayton Antitrust Act (1914) was “Labor's charter of freedom." The act included a section declaring that unions could not be considered unlawful combinations per se and that strikes, boycotting, and picketing were not violations of federal law.” (U.S. History) The Adamson Act of 1916 was initiated by President Wilson to avoided the strike by four railroad unions by giving workers well deserved benefits. The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 was put in the place to encourage union bargaining, to set up maximum work hour, establish a minimum wage, and to prohibit the child labor industry. After this Act was overturned portions of the act were revived in the Wagner Act
The labor movement in the United States has had a turbulent history with not being equal to all in society. A key demographic that has fought for equality up to the present day is women. The time period following the second World War was a time in which the United States thrived economically and socially, separating themselves as the sole “world superpower”. During the War, many women enter the workforce to help with the rapid production that was necessary to meet the demands of the military. When the War ended, many women saw their jobs lost to returning veterans. They were sent back to their homes to take care of their families. The post World War II time poised as an obstacle for women in the workforce. They were coming off of a high that they experienced by not having to stay in the home all day and tend to chores and their husband’s wishes. They no longer had to rely on their husband’s money because for the first time they were finally making their own. The working opportunities during the second World War created a feminist liberation that could not be oppressed when the men returned home. It instead jumpstarted women’s focus on their independence.
In the 1930s, the labor movement grew to a membership of five million under the leadership of Samuel Gompers. It was also characterized by several challenges such as the depression, employer counteroffensive, and the wobbly economy. Other notable events of the 30s are the Norris-LaGuardia Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, and the Wagner Act of 1935 which were created to protect workers. Subsequently, the Norris-LaGuardia and Wagner acts declared that unionization and collective bargaining should play a role in the United States public policy.
Throughout American history, many cultures have come to the United States in search of a better life. Some cultural groups were brought here as indentured servants. In many cases these different cultural groups have been separated from main stream culture, and have been exploited for labor. Many of these people have become naturalized citizens, but were not subjected to the same equality of the dominant Anglo Saxon race. Some individuals from these cultures began families, and even though their children were born as American citizens, they were still treated as alien. A comparison and contrast between four such cultures, African American, Asian American, Native American, and Mexican American will demonstrate the oppression that these groups faced in terms of labor and how they reacted.
LABOR UNION, LAUNCHED IN 1866, AND THE KNIGHTS OF LABOR, WHICH REACHED ITS ZENITH IN THE MID-1880S. ON THEIR FACE, THESE REFORM MOVEMENTS MIGHT HAVE SEEMED AT ODDS WITH TRADE UNIONISM, AIMING AS THEY DID AT THE COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH RATHER THAN A HIGHER WAGE, APPEALING BROADLY TO ALL "PRODUCERS" RATHER THAN STRICTLY TO WAGEWORKERS, AND ESCHEWING THE TRADE UNION RELIANCE ON THE STRIKE AND BOYCOTT. BUT CONTEMPORARIES SAW NO CONTRADICTION: TRADE UNIONISM TENDED TO THE WORKERS'' IMMEDIATE NEEDS, LABOR REFORM TO THEIR HIGHER HOPES. THE TWO WERE HELD TO BE STRANDS OF A SINGLE MOVEMENT, ROOTED IN A COMMON WORKING-CLASS CONSTITUENCY AND TO SOME DEGREE SHARING A COMMON
The late nineteenth century was a time of great change for people everywhere. Industries became staples of society in almost every major city; farming became more efficient due to steel and machines, and more jobs were available because of all the new industries. Between 1865 and 1900, the number of people employed in manufacturing rose from 1.3 million to 4.5 million. Working conditions were terrible, providing long hours, low wages, and unhealthy conditions. Millions of people were denied the basic amenities that their labor made possible for others.1 When reviewing drive for monopolies, Edward Bellamy, author of Looking Backward, wrote that "The individual laborer, who had
Working conditions in the 1800ś were bad. By the end of the day for the workers, they had worked approximately 11.4 hours. Workers became very tired and more likely to have more accidents. Many of the factory machines had eagerly move parts. Workers, especially the children, were often hurt by the machines. The factories didn't have a cooling or heating systems. In the winter, the workers were cold. In the summer, the workers were hot. There were no laws to help or control the working conditions or the workers. The owners of the factory often cared more about making money than about the employee's safety. It was hard on the children to work 6days a week and at least 12 or more hours a day. The work was extremely hard and dangerous. The