• Life was hard for the industrial age worker.• Industrialization caused many skilled workers to lose their jobs.• These workers not had to work at jobs in factories for unskilled labor which causedthe to work for poor wages.• Child labor also led to a decrease in wages for workers.• Many workers took jobs in dangerous factories called sweatshops.• These workers had to endure low wages, long hours, and dangerous workingconditions.
Sweatshops were factories in which a middleman, the sweater, guided workers inclothing production. The sweatshops left many experienced tailors without a job,because the cheap clothes were preferred by many people.
•During the Industrial Revolution families migrated from the rural farm areas to the newly industrialized cities to find work.•Once they got there, things did not look as bright as they did. To survive in even the lowest level of poverty, families had to have every able member of the family go to work.•This led to the high rise in child labor in factories.•Children worked up to 19 hours a day with only one, one hour break.•Many children were killed or injured in accidents involving industrial machinery
During the Industrial Revolution, the economy depended on women towork in the factories. Women mostly found jobs in domestic service, textilefactories, and coalmines. The women that worked in these factories facedunsanitary working conditions and dangerous work. Also, as a result of theneed for wages in the growing cash economy, families became dependent onthe wages of women. The average wage in New York state in 1926 for womenemployees was $17.41, and for men $31.47. Statistics show that womens wagesare from one-third to one-half less than mens wages. The majority of womenworking in the industrial revolution faced a life of hardship.
Labor unions were formed when dissatisfied workers formed in to groups to demand better pay and working conditions. In 1869 garment cutters formed the Noble and Holy Order of theKnights of Labor. The members ofof Labor was officially formed. It had In 1886, the American Federation the labor union met secretly andhandshakes so thatskilled workers in various find out about them. of the represented many their employers wouldn‟t crafts. The PresidentSomethingFederation of Labor was Samuel Gompers. The organization American that was unique about this labor union was that its membersincludedfor higher wages, shorter hours, better working conditions, and worked African Americans, women, and unskilled laborers. The Knightsof Labor had more than 700,000 members at its peak. the right to bargain collectively with employers.
Samuel Gompers was the first and longestserving president of the American Federation ofLabor. Under his leadership, the AmericanFederation of Labor became the largest and mostinfluential labor federation in the world. It grewfrom a small association of 50,000 in 1886 to anestablished organization of nearly 3 million in 1924that had won a permanent place in Americansociety.
Collective Bargaining is a negotiation betweenorganized workers and their employer or employers todetermine wages, hours, rules, and working conditions.The American Federation of Labor pressed for thisright.
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones was very involved in the struggles of coal miners, and helped at many protests andAnother one ofShe famous strikes was leading the "childrens crusade," a strikes. her was a very persuasive speaker, and she had a fierycaravan of striking childrenher best-known activities was leading a personality. One of from the textile mills of Kensington,Pennsylvania,of miners wives "who routed strikebreakers Longbrooms New march to President Theodore Roosevelts home in with Island, and mops in the Pennsylvania coalfields in 1902."York, in 1903, to dramatize the case for abolishing child labor. Mother Joneswent on to participate in 1915 and 1916 in the strikes of garment workers andstreetcar workers in New York, and in the strike of steel workers in Pittsburghin 1919.
The International Ladies Garment Workers Union wasone of the most important and progressive unions in the1930‟s. It was also once one of the largest Labor Unions of theUnited States, and it also contained mostly female members.In 1909, 20,000 New York shirtwaist makers, mostly women,launched a fourteen-week strike, called “The Uprising,”followed several months later by a strike of 60,000 cloakmakers. In the negotiations that followed, the ILGWU wasrecognized by the industry and won higher wages as well asimportant new benefits for its members, such as healthexaminations.
The Triangle ShirtwaistFactory fire in New York City onMarch 25, 1911, was the largestindustrial disaster in the history ofthe city of New York, causing thedeath of 146 of the 500 garmentworkers who either died in the fire orjumped to their deaths. The fire ledto legislation requiring improvedfactory safety standards and helpedspur the growth of the InternationalLadies Garment Workers Union,which fought for better workingconditions for sweatshop workers inthat industry.
Many strikes took place when Unions responded tolow wages and fired employees. Many of these strikesended in violence. Many of the companies hiredstrikebreakers to replace the striking workers. During astrike, if violence occurred, the federal troops wouldrestore order.
During the nation-wide strike for the 8-hour workday, whichbegan May 1, 1886, a mass meeting was held in the Chicago Haymarketto protest a police action of the previous day in which workers werekilled. When police ordered the protest meeting to disperse (peacefulthough it was), a bomb was thrown by an unknown person, killingseveral officers. This became known as the "Haymarket Riot." The 8-Hour Day Movement was destroyed in the nation-wide hysteria, whichfollowed.
In 1892 there burst outthen fury of the so-called Homestead Incensed, Frick the by his action that he meant the Frick immediately indicated called upon the governor of war to the strike, state of Pennsylvania for the militia and within a hand the iron which was really a lockout, involving on the one bitter end. He erected a wire fence three miles long and few days thearound 15 feet high and steel workers, who,12,000 was an armed camp. The soldiers one little mill town of with a membership of nearly 25,000, were the works and called upon the Pinkerton Detective Agency to send him 300 of the strongest unions in the country, and on the other the Carnegie gunmen. The locked-out workers heardwhenthe Pinkertons were coming, stayed till the end of November, that the strike officially Steel Company.the utter defeat of the workers. The union‟s treasury ended in Three years previously the union had been recognized and they watched for their arrival. They knew that the gunmen would be by the was empty; winter was entered with it into a three-year contract, as a Before that occurred, however, Andrew Carnegie, were going company; indeed, had coming on, and already famous armed and prepared themselves to meet them families own terms. On the on theirmajor the expiration of which Carnegie wanted the men to take had hurriedly at prophet of American In desperation, workers returned to a reduction cold and hungry. „democracy‟, anticipating violence, in Homestead. night of July 5th , a boatload of Pinkertons attempted to land work asturned the command over to the company‟s superintendent, , before they a of wages. The union declined these terms and on July 1stHenry C Frick, non-unionists. A battle followed, in which 10 men were killed and three times that numberfrank and declare a strike, theand departed for Europe.locked out. could brutal union-hater, workers were suddenly wounded. At the end the workers got the better of the gunmen, captured the entire 300, minus the few who were killed, held them prisoners of war for 24 hours, and finally ran them, disarmed, out of town.
The Pullman Strike of 1894 was the first national strike in United States history. It, before coming to an end, involved over 150,000 people and twenty-seven states and The problem that caused the Pullman Strike arose afterthe panic of It would temporarily stop the nations railway territories. 1893, when the workers of Pullman receivedseveral wage cuts that on the force of the nation to twenty-five system. The entire rail labor average added up would walkpercent. These cuts were supporting the capital side of added away from their jobs. In bad in themselves, but when thiswith Pullmans actions of not lowering the rents forNations strike President Cleveland for the first time in the companyowned homes in Pullman, the labor began to unite. on and history would send in federal troops, who would fire kill United States Citizens, against the wishes of the states.
Eugene Victor Debs was an American labor and a politicalleader. He was one of the founders of the International LaborUnion and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He was alsofive-time Socialist Party of America candidate for President of theUnited States.In 1893 Debs was elected the first president of the AmericanRailway Union (ARU). During the Pullman Strike in 1894, Debswas arrested and charged with contempt of court. He wassentenced six months in prison.
Exit Slip Why did workers demand changes in working conditions and wages? List five reasons. How did labor unions help workers get economic and political influence? List three reasons.