During the gilded ages, many people were moving off of their farm land in the rural country, to big factories, and industries in the city. As many moved, the employers gained fame, power, and money fast. This helped them in many situations when their employees stand up for themselves and strike. In this blog I will talk about how this movement affected the workers, why employers saw unions as dangerous, and what benefits workers got from unions.
The late 1800’s saw a massive rise in industrialization due to people trying to get away from the country side. Thousands of families packed their things and left their homes to join the workforce. This movement had a positive and negative affect on workers in their family. The positives were that they were making steady pay and were able to work better hours. Comparing this to the rural life was a big boost. Many worked all day and night to only make little pay of their crops. The negative about the industrialization is the crowding of people and the actual work space. The job openings brought a mass amount of people into the city which caused living space inside the city to become limited. Also, even though they are getting paid a little amount, the work space is very unsafe and the employers are not respectful to you at all.
Speaking of bad work spaces, the employers started to get greedy and cut their wages and raised the working hours. After a while of this, employees were fed up with it and wanted to go on strike. They formed up a union to discuss how they wanted to go about getting what they wanted from their employers. Many want on strike and stopped working. These strikes consisted of not showing up to work or doing a sit down strike at work. The employers found out about these unions and began to fear for their company. The workers not showing up would mean no production is getting done. With no work being done, that means the company is making no money. Employers want to stay strong with their beliefs but also want to make money. Another fear on the employers had was that if they did not give the employees their demands they may get violent, which some unions did. this would cause a lot of money lost for the employers, and even possibly making them lose their company.
Unions were a big step forward for the workforce that we see today. They went on strike and demanded for better pay, hours, and working conditions. After a while of demanding, the employers finally cracked and gave them what they wanted so they would come back and work. Unions also helped get some people holiday bonuses, paid vacation, and simply days off to just relax. The stand unions took back in the day also allowed women to believe in themselves and stand up to their employers to be treated equal as well. The Gilded Ages were not always a positive, but they allowed workers to stand up to the employers and demand respect and safe work that we now have all over the world today.
By Kyle Chanin