Business is booming, life is going great. This is probably what most business owners thought during the Industrial Revolution. They had technology that helped them create goods at quicker rates and more volume, at a cheap price too. The railroads were another big plus to them because it allowed their goods to go different places that could possibly be far away from their factory. They seemed to have a great life going. Their workers however didn’t. They watched their bosses gain more and more money while they earned very little for the work they did. This caused many disadvantages for the workers.
Every day unskilled workers piled into a factory to put in 12 long hours of work. The long days and new technology created some issues. Having to constantly do the same thing over and over seemed to do more harm than good. Many workers got injured on the job due to the repeating work (Visions of America, 486). Another thing that didn’t help was the poor working conditions. The workers went to work every day with a risk of getting injured or even killed on the job.
Workers wanted a way to give themselves better working conditions so they created unions. When the employers found out about them, they did anything to stop it. They hired people to pretend to be workers but really were spying to see who was part of a union and who wasn’t. They then proceeded to fire anyone who was in a union and blacklisted them, which ruined their chances of ever finding another job (Visions of America, 487).
Employers saw unions as a bad thing while the workers thought it was great. They considered unions to be a way for them to get better regulations, shorter working hours and more pay by teaming up together and going on strikes. Most strikes didn’t go so well. Employers would call in local officials to help get rid of the protesting workers or they would simple replace the employee with a new worker who was willing do to the work for little pay.
Very little positive things seemed to have come out of the Industrial Revolution for workers. While the workers just wanted what they felt they had a right too, employers just simple wanted a way to make lots of money at a small expense. They didn’t see a reason to give them the rights because it would have costed them more money. They created the disadvantages for the workers and a long fight for them to finally get what they deserved.
Keene, Jennifer D., et al. “Chapter 16: Wonder and Woe.” Visions of America: A History of the United States, Pearson, 2015.