After the civil war, industrialism started growing in America. Taking place in the late 1800’s, an increase in production due to the creation of machines led to industrialization. Oil, steel, and the railroads played a significant part in creating this revolution. Innovators were inventing machines that could do work much more efficiently, faster, and in more quantities than compared to people making their own materials.
This began the switch from Americans completely farming their resources to buying factory made items. The increasing number of factories led to a massive need for workers. Factory employees worked long grueling hours for little pay around dangerous machines in which they had no prior training on how to properly use them. Factory owners became very wealthy, but eventually workers fought back creating unions and demanding congress limit these powerful greedy employers.
Usually the government was always in favor of employers, leaving employees essentially without any rights. The continuing demands and stress that factory jobs placed on its workers led to the creation of the Labor Movement. After a great deal of fighting for employee rights, they were able to force congress to create policies concerning fair wages, health benefits, and child labor restrictions.
Industrialism is still affecting us today. Employees are continuing to demand higher minimum wage and better benefits. Twenty five years ago, Michigan minimum wage was $3.35 and now its more than double sitting at $9.25! It’s crazy to see how industrialism and inflation are effecting our wages in the present and as we go into the future. Currently a movement called “Fight for $15” has become widespread in the United States. Employee unions within this movement are protesting for minimum wage to be risen to $15 as well as fighting for better benefits and healthcare across all job industries.
Kazin, Matthew. “Fast Food Workers Set to Protest in Push for $15 Minimum Wage.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 11 Feb. 2018, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/11/fast-food-workers-set-to-protest-in-push-for-15-minimum-wage.html.
Keene, Jennifer D., Visions of America: A History of the United States, Vol 2, 3e, Pearson, 2017.
United States Department of Labor. Wage and Hour Division (WHD). United States Department of Labor, http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/stateMinWageHis.htm.