Between the years 1870-1900, Americans began to respond to the effects fostered by these corporations. From urban factory workers to rural farmers, Americans began to organize against these big businesses. With mass industrialization, more job’s were made available to women, these jobs were often in factories with terrible conditions, sweatshops. There was a sameness about working in mass production factories. Thus, working in these modern mass production factories created a homogenous environment that diminished individualism and the need for skilled workers. (Doc. C) Strikers were common during this era, workers participated in strikes and joined labor unions, such as The American Federation of Labor and the Knights of Labor, due to the terrible working conditions. The American Federation of Labor, headed by Samuel Gompers, was specifically for skilled workers and argued for better wages and a reduction in working hours. (Doc. G) Although urban workers were greatly impacted by the growth of these corporations, they were not the ones. Farmers, suffered
After the civil war, up until the early 1900s, the need for a larger workforce grew as industrialization expanded. Samuel Slater brought the industrial revolution from England, and even since then, there were people trying to get better working conditions. Due to the growth in population by immigrants and expansion of industrialization, the working conditions became worse and worse, causing workers to suffer. Many people fought to solve this problem and changed many American’s lives for the better.
As the exploitation of the government came to light, Congress was forced to save face and demonstrate a neutrality towards businesses. The Interstate Commerce Act of 1877 quenched the thirst for change because it regulated railroads and the pools being formed. It called for carriers to decline from offering “undue…preferences” to any particular person, company, firm, etc. Favoritism would be eliminated, but so would opportunity to advance competitively as exemplified in the act of legislature of 1888. Apprentices that had been indentured had a right to properly learning the skill of their practiced trade. However, as technological advances took control of factories, laborers lost relevance to production. They no longer needed to be mindful of operating machines considering the machine itself did most of the services. A balance between employers and laborers was virtuously necessary, but concluded in a stalemate. (Doc 4, Doc 5)
In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, labor was anything but easy. Factory workers faced long hours, low pay, high unemployment fears, and poor working conditions during this time. Life today is much easier in comparison to the late 1800s. Americans have shorter days, bigger pay and easier working conditions. Not comparable to how life is today, many riots sparked, and citizens began to fight for equal treatment. Along with other important events, the Haymarket Riot, the Pullman Strike, and the Homestead strike all play a vital role in illustrating labor’s struggle to gain fair and equitable treatment during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
In the first half of the 19th Century the working class in the newly industrializing American society suffered many forms of exploitation. The working class of the mid-nineteenth century, with constant oppression by the capitalist and by the division between class, race, and ethnicity, made it difficult to form solidarity. After years of oppression and exploitation by the ruling class, the working class struck back and briefly paralyzed American commerce. The strike, which only lasted a few weeks, was the spark needed to ignite a national revolt by the working class with the most violent labor upheavals of the century.
Question 4: Zinn’s interpretation of late nineteenth-century labor unions and strikes differs from Schweikart and Allen’s by Zinn tells all the bad of the labor unions and strikes while Schweikart and Allen tell all the good of the labor unions and
Labors did not have very good wages and it was problem during the Gilded Age. Labors’ had to live by paternalism, meaning that George Pullman owned them. It seems as if labors never got a profit for the long hours that they worked in the sweatshops. All the money goes straight back to Pullman, because they had to pay for rent and their goods and groceries provided by him. So basically, Pullman didn’t consider them valuable because there was always someone looking for a job. These reasons led to several unionizations like the Knights of Labor where they had to pay their dues to go on strike and fight for them. Anyone from radical to bosses could join this union except bankers and lawyers, which made no sense. They fought for workplace rights but where they did wrong is when they demanded outside workplace rights such as free public schools for their children. This union caused deaths
During the late 19th and early 20th, there were many problems caused by the rapid urbanization and industrialization. In response, a group of individuals came together and their goal was to reform the United States. During this era people were dealing with problems such as poverty, the breakdown of democratic government, and the exploitation of labor. In addition, very limited group of people owned the majority of wealth of this country. This individuals were trying to reduce the long working hours, and as Zinn says: bring a remedy to changes that the industrialization was causing.(Zinn 354)
During these years after the Civil War, many Americans struggled. Although the industrial world boomed, so many people were looking for jobs that many did not have any jobs. For the ones that happened to have jobs, the working conditions were so atrocious that sometimes it might not have even been worth it to have a job. As demonstrated in the article titled What Does Labor Want? It explains the concern of many workers. The passage voices the want of a reform from the workers. They say that human beings should be treated just as well as every other person in the world. These workers worked well over 14 hours a day doing very strenuous labor. They pleaded for shorter work days and better treatment of workers. The people also were fearful of the huge up and coming businesses. They did not like the power the companies had over the government and economy. The people knew these businesses had the power to change the prices of all goods to whatever they wanted. Although there were many corrupt things about the working world, one good thing of it all was that women were now able to work. Instead of having to sit at home and be a typical housewife day after day, they were now able to work in some factories and stores. The picture from Document J shows
The labor relations movement has been one of the most successful driving forces behind such efforts as: providing aid to workers who were injured or retired, better health benefits and to stop the practice of child labor in the workforce. Ostensibly, unions in the United States arose out of the need to better protect the “common interests” of laborers. Today, many of the social movements and alliances forged are created under the guise to better protect the employer from a plethora of interests made against the organization, rather than, increasing wages, improving reasonable employment hours and/or enhancing work conditions.
Labor unions play an important role in The Jungle, as they fight against the sick system of exploitation created by corporate power in the stockyards and give hope for a better future to working people. Labor unions are also systematically suppressed in The Jungle as the employers use blacklists, physical force, and their influence in the courts to keep them down. This dynamic in the stockyards is occurring within the broader context of labor history in the United States. Despite the political influence of employer interest groups and consistent attempts at suppression, the labor movement grew and strengthened during the early 20th century, achieving substantial gains in the rights of working people.
In labor as in all things there is strength in numbers it is this strength that American labor unions provide. Labor unions provide a collective voice for those who had not previously been heard. As the professor in the “Frustrated Labor Historian” Dr. Horace P. Karastan is left with the dilemma what are the three most important events in American labor union history it would be difficult to choose with so many important moments. There are however several events that stand out as being turning points in giving employees unquestionable protections. The Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932 allowing employees the right to organize. Further the Wagner Act protecting employees from reprisal from employers for organizing spurring the growth of unionization. The Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959 building on the Wagner Act as well as the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 which granted protections from the unions. It is these Acts that have changed the landscape of American labor union history and leave us with the unions that we have today.
“I regard my workpeople just as I regard my machinery...When my machines get old and useless, I reject them and get new, and these people are part of my machinery” (Sands 12). A foreman at a textile mill in Fall River, Massachusetts spoke these words in possibly the worst time during American labor history, the Industrial Revolution. During the Industrial Revolution, large numbers of people in the United States flocked to work in factories where they faced long hours, unsanitary and unsafe conditions and poor wages. Labor unions, or groups of organized workers, formed in the United States to ensure workers the right to a safe workplace and a fair wage in the face of capitalistic factory owners seeking wealth. In exchange, union
Consider the great "reform" of the New Deal in Labor/Management relations, the Wagner Act, which created the National Labor Relations Board, and defined an alliance between a Union and the ownership of an American Company as an "unfair labor practice." It might be unfair to suggest that the major intention of the Wagner Act was to instill the concept of Class Warfare at the core of Labor/Management relations. Its main thrust was to intrude the Executive branch of the Federal Government into those relations under the pretended authority of the Interstate Commerce clause of the Federal Constitution. Guaranteeing a certain antagonism between the players was one way to increase the opportunities to invoke the Federal role asserted.
Two years after the infamous Triangle fire, 20,000 workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts; angered over wage cuts and deplorable conditions went on strike, prompting the twin reactions of police brutality and press coverage (Hodson & Sullivan, 2008). “As a result of the strike, not only were wages raised and conditions improved in the textile industry as a whole, but important legislation was also enacted that restricted the exploitation of child and female labor” (Hodson & Sullivan, 2008, p. 132). It is doubtful that working conditions would have evolved to the level of equity we find today, without the sacrifice and activism of unions and their members.