There is no doubt that the Industrial Revolution was a was a crossroads for the American workforce. With new technology coming into age and new ways to utilize natural resources, employees thought that the work and value that they were creating for their employers was high above their pay grade. Employers saw their employees forming unions to strike against employers, demanding more money. With the two sides at a disagreement, things needed to be sorted out between the two sides. And surely enough things eventually worked themselves out.
Industrialism affected workers in a very big way. After the civil war is really when industrialism took off. America at the time, had few legal restrictions, seemingly endless amounts of natural resources, and a rapidly growing workforce according to Dr. Jennifer D. Keene. This positively affected the American Labor Force by providing thousands, and probably millions of jobs to American people. Of course giving the American Labor Force jobs made them all too smart to realize what was going on right in front of their own eyes.
Eventually the workers in this time period started to realize the amount of work they are doing, the amount of time they are putting in to their work, and the value they are creating for their employers, is worth far more than what they were being compensated. In light of this realization, workers started to form unions and hold strikes against their employers until they were to be paid more than they were currently earning. Dr. Jennifer Keene found that factory workers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s suffered from terrible work conditions such as: long hours, low pay, dangerous conditions, and frequent downturns. Keene also reports that workers responded by forming unions and strikes. They saw the benefits of unions would be that if they were persistent enough that employers would change their school of thought and pay them more.
Employers found unions dangerous because it went against the best interest of their company. Just imagine you ran a business and you figured out labor costs, and what it took to keep your company profitable. When workers all of the sudden strike against you and demand more money, that goes against the cohesive setting you would like to establish in an organization. At least in today’s world, those are the kind of values a organization should instill in it’s workers. Back then, employers may have tried to underpay people to earn bigger profits, but I do not know that for certain.
Keene, Jennifer D. Visions of America: A History of the United States. 3rd ed., vol. 2, Pearson, 2017.