The American Industrial Worker

801 Words 4 Pages
The American Industrial worker has faced various challenges throughout history. The late 1800s marked a period for the United States in which industrial supremacy was beginning to efficiently unravel and reveal itself to the country. Between the years 1865 and 1900, the American industrial worker was greatly impacted. Some effects were positive and uplifting while others were negative and hurt the workers. There are three main reasons for why there was such a large impact on the workers during these years; immigration, labor unions and the advancement in technology that was being experienced. These all helped lead to what is known as ‘The Age of the City.’ During this time period, the industrial workforce expanded and grew drastically as a …show more content…
Unions are organizations that are made up of workers that help protect American industrial worker’s interest, whether it be through violent strikes or collective bargaining. After immigration led to lower wages and employees being abused at work with arduous and often dangerous working conditions, labor unions formed in order to protect the hard working laborers in the work field. For example The Knights of Labor, a union that was founded in 1869, or the AFL (American Federation of Labor.) Both advocated for eight-hour workdays and better conditions, in addition the abolition of child labor for the Knights and fixed/better wages for the AFL. Strikes led by unions usually ended badly and without much gains for the workers. In many cases, these strikes resulted in many casualties and much violence as it was seen in the Railroad Strike, Homestead Steel strike and the Pullman Factory strikes. However, labor unions were sometimes effective in helping the American industrial worker. Many states passed laws that met the demands of industrial workers, including better hours, better working conditions and other …show more content…
As a result of technology steadily advancing and new inventions being introduced into the industry, many job opportunities had been opened up for the American industrial worker. The introduction of electricity as a light and power source allowed for jobs to be created in power plants, the open-hearth process created jobs in the coal and steel industries and resulted in skyscrapers being built, and Henry Ford revolutionized the way in which automobile factories functioned. The assembly line called for each worker to perform a simple task in the process of making an automobile, leading to the industry rapidly growing. However, despite the opening of more jobs, many of these jobs required little effort due to machines doing most of the work and making jobs much easier which meant bosses could hire unskilled workers to perform these tasks. This also brought upon long hours for workers because light was provided at night with electricity and dangerous conditions when these large machines were being used. Overall, the quality of life of the American industrial worker was highly degraded due to how much industrialization had changed. The life of the American industrial worker was severely changed between 1865 and 1900 because of immigration, labor unions and technological advancements. Many may argue that these changes were for the best because of the increased number of jobs that were introduced

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