Labor Unions in the Gilded Age

Labor Unions in the Gilded Age

Labor Unions

During the industrial revolution workers felt they were being miss treated, this led to the organization of factory workers in the form of labor unions.

Factory workers didn't like the working conditions that they faced. They over worked by having to work ten hours a day. They factories were crammed with workers. The factories weren't kept up very well so they were very dirty. They were also usually very hot. The machines gave off an enormous amount of heat and a lack of air conditioning caused it to be unbearably hot.

Many of the factories were unsafe for the workers. The workers faced danger everyday while working with big machinery. To add to the danger many of them were un educated about the machines which would make them nieve.

Another problem that faced the workers were the wages. First off, a wage system was in place, where your wage was based on your sex, race, and age. But in general the wages were very low. An average wage for an unskilled worder in 1890 was $1.50 a day. So this meant 15 cents an hour.

The companies prefered hiring many unskilled workers instead of a few skilled workers. This was because the skilled workers demanded much higher wages then those of the unskilled workers.

These issues and many more upset the factory workers. This anger led to the forming of labor unions.

Early labor unions like The National Labor Union of NLU were formed to persue 8-hour workdays. They wanted a balance in their day. "Eight hours for work; eight hours for sleep; and eight hours for what we will!". The NLU fell apart in the depression of 1873.

A more successful labor union was The Knights of Labor. The Knights of Labor was formed in secrecy in 1869 by garment cutters. Ten years later they expanded and strived for "one big union". They aimed to get rid of the wage system. They also wanted a cooperative economy where the workers had a say in the decision and a shared the profits of the company.

Another successful labor...

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