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Industrialization and Workers . Effects of Industrialization Ch. 6.3. The Growing Work Force. Increase in immigrants: 14 million new immigrants to the U.S. between 1860 and 1900 From 1860-1910 the US population jumped from 31.4 million to 91.9 million.

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Industrialization and workers l.jpg

Industrialization and Workers

Effects of Industrialization

Ch. 6.3


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The Growing Work Force

  • Increase in immigrants:

    • 14 million new immigrants to the U.S. between 1860 and 1900

    • From 1860-1910 the US population jumped from 31.4 million to 91.9 million.

    • Over this span of forty years the population tripled in size.

  • Contract Labor Act (1864)

    • Immigration was encouraged by the federal government

    • Employers made contracts with immigrants in exchange for passage to the U.S.


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The Growing Work Force

  • 8-9 million Americans moved to cities during the late 1800s due to poor conditions and struggles on farms.

    • 46% of the U.S. population lived in urban areas.

    • Cities stretched to accommodate these millions and deteriorated in the process.


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Factory Work

  • Most laborers worked 12 hrs. a day six days a week.

  • 1868 Federal employees granted eight-hour work day

    • but this didn’t apply to private industry


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Factory Work

  • Piecework: A system where workers were paid not by the time worked but by what they produced.

  • Most of this type of work was done in sweatshops.

    • A shop where employees worked long hours, at low wages, under poor working conditions


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Factory Work

  • Increasing Efficiency -

    • Fredrick Winslow Taylor-

    • Goal to increase productivity to increase profits but sometimes led to layoffs.

  • Division of Labor -

    • factory workers performed one small task, over and over, and rarely saw the finished product.

    • Caused workers to be disconnected from the finished product and

    • Owners saw their employees as “parts” and did not interact with them as much.


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Factory Work

  • The Work Environment

    • Workers were ruled by the clock

    • Discipline was strict

    • Workplaces were not always safe--noise, poor lighting and ventilation were challenges.

    • Still offered better pay and more opportunities than other jobs.

    • The practice of child labor came under attack [Jacob Riis]


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Working Families

  • In the 1880’s children made up more than 5% of the industrial labor force.

  • Children’s wages often supplemented the family income and some left school to work.

  • Families in need relied on private charities as the government did not provide public assistance.



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Gulf Between Rich and Poor

  • In 1890 the richest 9% of Americans held about 75% of the wealth.

  • Socialism gained popularity

    • An economic and political philosophy that favors public instead of private of the means of production.

    • Wealth should be distributed equally to everyone.

    • The wealthy saw this as a threat to their fortunes, politicians saw it as a threat to public order.


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The Rise of Labor Unions

The Knights of Labor

  • Hoped to organize all working men and women, skilled and unskilled into a single union and recruited African Americans.

  • They fought for:

    • Equal pay for equal work, and 8-hour workday and an end to child labor

    • Sought to help their members through political activity and education

  • Sponsored first Labor Day on September 5, 1882


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TheRise of Labor Unions

  • American Federation of Labor

    • The AFL was a craft union

    • Hoped to organize only skilled workers in a network of smaller unions each devoted to a specific craft.

    • Women and African Americans were generally excluded.

    • Focused mainly on issues of workers’ wages, hours and working conditions.

  • Used economic pressure against employers-strikes and boycotts.

  • Collective bargaining:

    • the process in which workers negotiate as a group with employers.


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The Rise of Labor Unions

The Wobblies

  • Founded by those who opposed the AFL’spolicies

  • Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

  • A radical union focused on unskilled workers and included many socialists.

  • Many of their strikes were violent


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The Rise of Labor Unions

  • Reaction of Employers

    • They generally disliked and feared unions

    • Took measures to stop unions

      • Forbid union meetings

      • Firing union organizers

      • Sign “yellow dog” contract

      • Refuse to bargain collectively.


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Railroad Workers Organize

  • The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

    • Railway workers protested unfair wage cuts and unsafe working conditions.

    • The strike was violent and unorganized.

    • President Hayes sent federal troops to put down the strikes.

    • From then on, employers relied on federal and state troops to repress labor unrest.

  • Debs and the American Railway Union

    • At the time of the 1877 strike, railroad workers mainly organized into various “brotherhoods,” which were basically craft unions.

    • Eugene V. Debs proposed a new industrial union for all railway workers called the American Railway Union (A.R.U.).

    • The A.R.U. would replace all of the brotherhoods and unite all railroad workers, skilled and unskilled.


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The Haymarket Riot

Haymarket, 1886

  • On May 1, groups of workers mounted a national demonstration for an eight-hour workday.

  • On May 3, police broke up a fight between strikers and scabs. (A scab is a negative term for a worker called in by an employer to replace striking laborers.)

  • Union leaders called a protest rally on the evening of May 4 in Chicago’s Haymarket Square.

  • A group of anarchists, radicals who oppose all government, joined the strikers.

  • At the event, someone threw a bomb that killed a police officer.

  • The riot that followed killed dozens on both sides.

  • Investigators never found the bomb thrower, yet eight anarchists were tried for conspiracy to commit murder. Four were hanged.



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Strikes Rock the Nation

  • Homestead 1892

    • In 1892, Andrew Carnegie’s partner, Henry Frick, tried to cut workers’ wages at Carnegie Steel.

    • The union called a strike and Frick called in the Pinkertons.

    • The union called off the Homestead Strike after an anarchist tried to assassinate Frick.

    • Even though the anarchist was not connected to the strike, the public associated his act with rising labor violence.


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Strikes Rock the Nation

  • Pullman, 1894

    • Eugene Debs instructed strikers not to interfere with the nation’s mail.

    • Railway owners turned to the government for help. The judge cited the Sherman Antitrust Act and won a court order forbidding all union activity that halted railroad traffic.

    • Court orders against unions continued, limiting union gains for the next 30 years.



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