Machines are replacing humans. Although the industrialization was helping the economy and increasing production rates, it had a detrimental effect on the workers’ health. Working conditions were dusty, toxic and just plain unsafe. There have been plenty of injuries due to the lack of safety devices on the machines. The workers worked long hours and received little pay. They made 22 cents per hour and would work for fifty-nine hours a week. Despite of this, there was deflation. It means a rise in the value of money. Their pay could buy more things than usual. Companies tried to lessen the pay of their workers to combat this, but it lead to an even bigger drop in prices which in turn lead to the workers being able to buy even more. Workers believed that they were being paid less and less for the same tasks and work. The workers wanted to be treated fairly and they wanted to be able to negotiate higher wages and more suitable, healthier conditions. The workers decided to start a union.
In the 1800s industrial workers could be placed in two groups: craft workers and common laborers. Craft workers were more skilled and specialized in areas of machinists, shoe makers, glassblowers, printers, carpenters and iron molders. They received more pay had had more control of their time. They began to form trade unions that limited people with specific skills.
Large corporations didn’t like industrial unions because they united craft and common workers in a particular industry. Companies made workers sign contracts saying that they won’t join unions. And if you’re found to be a part of a union you would be ‘blacklisted’ which would make it extremely hard to get a job again.
Workers who did want to start unions faced consequences because, there was no law that gave them the right to organize together, and negotiate