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Industrialization and Workers. Ch 6, Sec 3 & 4. Factory Workers. Boom in workforce mid to late 1800s. Urbanization and large immigrant population. 10-12 hours/day, 6 days/week. Paid by piecework – paid by number of completed products.

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Factory workers
Factory Workers

  • Boom in workforce mid to late 1800s.

    • Urbanization and large immigrant population.

  • 10-12 hours/day, 6 days/week.

  • Paid by piecework – paid by number of completed products.

  • Worked in sweatshops – long hours, low pay, poor working conditions.


Industrialization and workers

  • Efficiency studies by Frederick Winslow Taylor led to division of labor.

    • Production divided up into small parts, each person does on part over and over.

    • Made businesses very efficient; low skill level, low pay.

  • Few safety measures in factories; hot, loud, dangerous.

  • Due to low pay, wives and children worked.

    • 1 in 5 kids aged 10-16 was employed.



Unions and strikes
Unions and Strikes

  • 1890-Richest 9% of Americans held 75% of wealth.

    • Led to resentment and anger.

  • Many began to support philosophy of Socialism.

    • Public control of factors of production, not private.

    • Wealth should be spread evenly to all.

  • Socialist ideas led to creation of labor unions.


Industrialization and workers

  • Unions formed to help workers in hard times.

    • Changed to become a way for workers to give demands to employers.

      • Higher pay, shorter hours, better conditions, etc.

  • 1869, Knights of Labor union formed to organize allinto single union.

    • Wanted equal pay for equal work (women, minorities), 8-hour workday, no child labor.

    • Peaked at 700,00 members, then declined and disappeared in 1890’s.


Industrialization and workers

  • 1886, Samuel Gompers founded American Federation of Labor (AFL).

    • Craft Union – Only skilled workers in a network of smaller unions, each devoted to a specific craft.

  • Wanted better wages, hours, conditions.

  • Used strikes, boycotts, collective bargaining.

    • Workers negotiate as a group with employers.

  • AFL was very effective and successful.



Industrialization and workers

  • 1877, railroad workers struck to protest wage cuts and unsafe conditions.

    • Destroyed railroad property, US president sent troops to restore order.

  • Eugene V. Debs organized the American Railway Union.

    • Industrial union – workers from all crafts in a given industry.

  • Debs was opposed to violent strikes, preferred peaceful protests.


Industrialization and workers

Industrial Union unsafe conditions.

Eugene V. Debs


Industrialization and workers

  • Employers disliked and feared unions. unsafe conditions.

  • Tried to stop unions by:

    • Forbidding union meetings.

    • Firing union organizers.

    • Forcing new employees to sign contracts promising not to join unions or strike.

    • Refusing to collectively bargain.

    • Refusing to recognize unions as workers’ representatives.


Industrialization and workers

  • 1881-1900 – 24,000 strikes. unsafe conditions.

  • Haymarket Riot, 1886 – national protest for 8 hour workday led to strikes.

    • Chicago-fight between strikers and scabs led to union protest in Haymarket Square.

    • Someone threw a bomb and killed cops, led to open riot with dozens dead.

    • Knights of Labor blamed.

    • 4 anarchists hanged, 1 killed self, 3 let go.


Industrialization and workers

  • Homestead Strike unsafe conditions., 1892 – Carnegie’s partner Henry Clay Frick tried to cut wages at Homestead, Pennsylvania mill.

    • Led to huge strike.

    • Frick sent in Pinkertons to break strike; gunfight, many killed.

    • Anarchist Alexander Berkman tried and failed to kill Frick.

      • Public opinion turned against strikers.

    • Strike ended against workers 3 months after start.


Industrialization and workers

Henry Clay Frick unsafe conditions.


Industrialization and workers

Alexander unsafe conditions.Berkman


Industrialization and workers

  • Pullman Strike unsafe conditions., 1894 – George Pullman built luxury railroad cars, and a town for his workers.

    • 1893, cut wages 25%, kept rent and food prices same.

    • Caused local union to strike.

      • Pullman shut down factory, refused to bargain.

    • ARU led nationwide Pullman strike, 260,000 workers.

      • Blocked mail delivery, fed gov’t got involved.

    • Citing Sherman Anti-Trust Act, railroads got court order to end strike, President Cleveland sent troops to enforce.


Industrialization and workers

George Pullman unsafe conditions.


Industrialization and workers

Strikers burned 600 boxcars. unsafe conditions.