How did the Union Start?


The industrial revulsion effected many employees. Employees were demanded to work long hours, mostly fourteen to sixteen hour days. They would be pushed to work harder and harder. Women, African Americans, and children would be payed less than men. Children would start working at the age of seven. The children even worked fourteen to sixteen hours a day. Women and children worked because the men of the family were off to work, the women were single moms, and if the family needed more income. The conditions were harsh for some of the works. They would fall asleep at the machine due to the lack of sleep and harsh punishment from the higher command employees.

The workers had enough eventually and wanted to have their right in the work force. The workers formed a union. The union workers went on strike to have eight-hour days and to be treated fairly. The KOL became the largest industrial union. The KOL focused on economic justice and democracy. They believed that all men are created equal, so there for they should be treated the same. They also believe that everyone should have the same opportunity in jobs.

Keene, Jennifer. Visions of America: A History of the United States Volume two, 3e, Pearson, 2017.

8 thoughts on “How did the Union Start?

  1. During the Industrial Revolution, much like today, discrimination plays a huge part in how people are payed. The fact that we are still struggling today for pay equality is insane. Women are almost half of the workforce. They are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with children. They receive more college and graduate degrees than men, yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. It is insane to think that between the 1800s and now, not much has changed.

    1. It truly is amazing to look at wage discrepancies today among women compared to men of the same education and in the same position. I read businessinsider.com that there are only 25 women CEO’s working for Fortune 500 companies. With what you said about women graduating at a higher rate than men this just seems absurd. My point of view of management across America is that if you are not part of the “Good Ol Boys” network then you don’t move up with the same respect that men do.

  2. You went into good depth on the working conditions employees during this time had to endure. I think many of us take for granted the policies that are in place for fair treatment of employees nowadays. There still is many parts of the work place that need improvement, but it’s at least better than it use to be. This means we are evolving and hopefully one day will have equal fair pay and benefits. It’s actually sad that many of my peers (myself included before taking this class) do not know what Labor day exactly is or why we celebrate it.

  3. I enjoyed reading your blog, I really like that you went into such depth on the working conditions of employees. I couldn’t ever imagine working those long hours, with such little pay. To think that today we still have the constant battle of pay equality between men and women is crazy. To look back and see that not much has changed from the 1800’s to modern day is insane in that aspect.

  4. I really enjoyed all the points you made in your blog post. They were well thought out and planned. I am curious to know what you think of the union development in this time period. How do you think the industrial revolution era would be different without the form of unions, in turn how would the present time be without unions such as the UAW, AFL-CIO, LIU, etc.?

  5. I know many people who still have to work grueling 14+ hour shifts with very little breaks. These people also tend to be making just barely above minimum wage. In this day and age you think things like this wouldn’t happen anymore, but sadly they do. I can only imagine things would be even worse if we didn’t have things like unions to fight for workers rights.

  6. I enjoyed that you summarized all of the main and important parts of the way unions began and how industrial industry impacted many people. It is still sad to think that women at the most had gotten paid only half of what men did at the time, it is like what you wrote in the blog and what the book said, some of the women were single trying to proved for themselves and some of them were trying to help bring in the extra income just to survive. I couldn’t image having to send my children into harsh working environments and have them have to work to help the family make enough to survive off of. The KOL created a huge difference in the work environment and gave the workers something to look and work forward towards. Plus the KOL was the first union group that didn’t leave people out (African Americans, Women, other racial groups) they knew that if they really wanted to make a difference in the way they (the workers) were treated in the work force, everyone needed to work together and that included race, ethnicity, and gender.

  7. This post did a great job of putting into perspective how far we’ve come in terms of employee treatment. 14-16 hour days are crazy to think about, even for adults let alone children, and along with the long days were terrible conditions. Now, hours per week are pretty standardized and regulated and work place conditions are vastly improved. This post was very informative in showing the progress that had been made, good work.

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