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Do Now. Based on your analysis of the photograph, how did industrialization affect workers? . Objective. How did industrialization affect workers?. Industrialization. Industrialization created problems

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do now
Do Now

Based on your analysis of the photograph,

how did industrialization affect workers?



How did industrialization

affect workers?


Industrialization created problems

the attempt to lower production costs and maximize profits meant low pay and long hours for workers

many workers labored under dangerous working conditions

  • Steelworkers labored under especially difficult conditions
  • At Carnegie’s Homestead plant, men toiled 12 hours a day, six days a week
  • In the furnace room, the Bessemer converters spit out sparks of fire
  • Hundreds of workers were killed working next to molten steel
  • In 1907, steelworkers earned about sixteen cents an hour for dangerous, back-breaking work
  • Many who worked in factories or mines outside of cities lived in employer-owned villages known as company towns.
  • Factory owners benefited from an immediately available work force and from the rent it collected from workers.
  • In the late 1800s and early 1900s Pennsylvania had more company towns than any other state in the nation. Most of these were isolated coal patch settlements where the coal companies not only owned the housing and stores, but also controlled law enforcement through powers granted them by state law. Pennsylvania's private coal and iron police existed from the 1860s to the 1930s.

Employers often paid company-town workers in scrip, a form of currency that could be used to buy goods in an employer-owned company-town store with inflated prices.

  • The industrial workforce was made up of workers from a variety of backgrounds
  • The majority were white American men who had left rural areas in search of jobs
  • Only a small number of factory workers were African Americans
  • By 1890, some one million women were employed in textile mills, garment factories, tobacco factories, and other industries
  • Women usually received half the wages of men in comparable jobs
  • By 1870, about one-third of all factory workers were foreign- born
  • Immigrants were often so desperate to find jobs that they would typically work for less than the standard wage
  • A steelworker usually earned $22 a week but an immigrant typically would do the job for as little as $12 a week

Working conditions varied in many industries from unsafe to life-threatening. Most factories were poorly lit, badly ventilated, and hazardous

In order to cut costs and maximize profits, factory owners and mine operators refused to pay for safety features

  • Coal miners labored deep underground and faced the near constant peril of explosions and cave-ins
  • Workers in textile mills inhaled the fibers that filled the air.
  • Garment workers in sweatshops strained their backs and eyes while crouched over tables and sewing machines
midnight at the glassworks lewis hines
“Midnight at the Glassworks,” Lewis Hines

Notice the age of the workers at this glassworks. Working families sometimes found their circumstances so dire that they forced their children to work. Unscrupulous business owners would exploit child laborers in order to cut costs. In Pennsylvania, for example, ten-year old boys commonly worked in the coal mines. By 1900, almost two million children between the ages of ten and fifteen were at work.


Business growth in the late 1800s generally raised the standard of living for most Americans.

Yet periodic unemployment and poor working conditions remained a fact of life for workers

The surplus of cheap unskilled labor, due in part to immigration, gave employers enormous power over the lives of their workers. Factory owners and mine operators, for example, would oftentimes cut wages or fire workers at will



How did workers respond to industrialization?

analyzing primary sources
Analyzing Primary Sources

My Children are

Seven in Number

Focus Questions

My children are seven in number.

They have to sleep four in a bed

I’m striking for my fellow workers to get them more clothes and more bread

Shoes, shoes, we're striking for pairs of shoes

Shoes, shoes, we're striking for pairs of shoes…

  • According to the song, what are some of the problems workers faced?
  • According to the song, what should workers do to confront these problems?
the growth of unions
The Growth of Unions
  • To improve conditions, increasing numbers of American workers organized labor unions beginning in the 1820s.
  • As working conditions changed with industrialization, many more workers became interested in joining unions.
the growth of unions1
The Growth of Unions

Many American workers understood the values of cooperation and association. The organization of labor unions provided a means to put these values into action.

Labor unions sought to win the right to collective bargaining, the process by which union members represent workers in negotiations with management.

the growth of labor unions
The Growth of Labor Unions

Several early unions helped advance the cause of labor

Knights of Labor

American Federation of Labor (AFL)

International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union (ILGWU)

the knights of labor
The Knights of Labor
  • formed in 1869 under the direction of Terence Powderly
  • welcomed all workers, including skilled and unskilled, as well as women and African Americans
  • the Knights fought for broad social reforms such as
  • Eight-hour day for workers
  • An end to child labor
  • Equal opportunities and wages for women
the knights of labor1
The Knights of Labor
  • As a rule, the union opposed strikes, but a successful strike against railroads in 1885 increased membership
spotlight on labor history the haymarket riot1
Spotlight on Labor HistoryThe Haymarket Riot
  • On May 4th 1886, anarchists, members of the labor movement and other radicals held a rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square in support of a general strike and to protest the killing of two workers by policemen at the McCormick Reaper Works the day before.
  • The rally was peaceable until the police tried to disperse the crowd. A bomb blast left many people dead, including seven police officers.
  • Although the Knights bore no responsibility for the violence, anti-labor sentiment swept the nation after the riot. As a result, membership in the Knights of Labor declined
the american federation of labor
The American Federation of Labor
  • In 1886, Samuel Gompers formed the American Federation of Labor (AFL)
  • The AFL was a collection of many different craft unions, unions of skilled workers in similar trades, organized by their occupations under a national umbrella organization
the american federation of labor1
The American Federation of Labor
  • In contrast to the Knights of Labor, a single union for skilled and unskilled workers, the AFL fought for winning immediate goals for skilled laborers, such as better wages, hours, and working conditions, a policy known of bread-and-butterunionism
  • AFL membership reached about a million by 1900, making the AFL the most powerful union in the nation. Nevertheless, the Union excluded such groups as women, immigrants, and African Americans
international ladies garment workers union
International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union
  • Women made up the majority of workers in the garment industries
  • In 1900, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) was formed to represent the laborers who toiled in sweatshops
  • During the winter of 1909-1910, the ILGWU led the Uprising of the 20,000, a general strike against garment manufacturers in New York City. Workers shared a common set of underlying grievances about wages, hours, workplace safety, and workplace indignities suffered specifically by women (such as unwanted sexual advances, threats, and invasions of privacy)
the growth of labor unions1
The Growth of Labor Unions

Attempts to form labor unions or gain better working conditions often pitted workers and their employers against each other

Both labor and management used a variety of tactics to achieve their goals

labor conflict3
Labor Conflict

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century strikes often led to violence as business owners sought local, state, and federal support to end walkouts by workers.

With government authorities on their side, business interests usually succeeded in their efforts to thwart union efforts to win gains for workers

labor conflict4
Labor Conflict

The Great Railway Strike

  • In 1877, a series of pay cuts for railroad workers led to a general strike that spread across several states, seriously disrupting the movement of freight along the nation’s rails,.
  • At the request of state governors, president Rutherford B. Hayes sent federal troops to help end the strike.
  • When the great railroad strikes of 1877 were over, more than a hundred people were dead and a thousand people had gone to jail. Although nearly 100,000 workers had gone on strike, workers won few concessions.
labor conflict5
Labor Conflict

Homestead Strike

  • In 1892, union members at the Carnegie steel plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania, went on strike to protest a wage cut. Management brought in security guards from the Pinkerton Detective Agency to secure the plant and lock out striking workers. In the violence that followed, 16 people were killed.
  • In the end, the governor of Pennsylvania called upon the state militia to stop the fighting and the strike.
labor conflict6
Labor Conflict

Homestead Strike, Aftermath

  • Fewer than 25 percent of the striking workers got their jobs back
  • The failure of the Homestead strike halted the union movement in the steel industry for 20 years
labor conflict7
Labor Conflict

Pullman Strike

In 1894, Pullman railway-car makers in Illinois walked out to protest a wage cut. The strike soon spread, tying up the nation’s rail lines

labor conflict8
Labor Conflict

Pullman Strike

In response to the strike, President Grover Cleveland sent in federal troops to end the strike.

In the 1895 Supreme Court case In re Debs, the court ruled that the president had the power to deploy troops, even over the objections of the governor of Illinois.

Cleveland’s action confirmed the belief of many that government favored the interests of business over those of labor.

Like the earlier Homestead Strike, the Pullman strike had ended sooner than expected as a result of government support for business.

uprising of the 20 000
Uprising of the 20,000

The Uprising of the Twenty Thousand

Dedicated to the Waistmakers of 1909

In the black of the winter of nineteen nine,

When we froze and bled on the picket line,

We showed the world that women could


And we rose and won with women's might.


Hail the waistmakers of nineteen nine,

Making their stand on the picket line,

Breaking the power of those who reign,

Pointing the way, smashing the chain.

And we gave new courage to the men

Who carried on in nineteen ten

And shoulder to shoulder we'll win through,

Led by the I.L.G.W.U.

uprising of the 20 0001
Uprising of the 20,000

On November 23, 1909, more than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an eleven-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry.

Dubbed the Uprising of the 20,000, it was the largest strike by women to date in American history. The young strikers’ courage, tenacity, and solidarity forced the predominantly male leadership in the “needle trades” and the American Federation of Labor to revise their entrenched prejudices against organizing women.

The strikers won only a portion of their demands, but the uprising helped to transform the garment industry into one of the best-organized trades in the United States.

The tragic Triangle Factory Fire of March 1911 would shed light on the unsafe working conditions of sweatshops, sparking progressive reform legislation.

labor conflict9
Labor Conflict

Lawrence Textile Strike

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW),a radical union of skilled and unskilled laborers, organized a strike against the textile mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

The strike proved to one of the greatest successes of that era, and workers won most of their demands.