American Industrial Worker ( 1865-1900)

During the late 1800s (1865-1900s), the blossom of an era was developed, the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution provided the means and demands for more work and more workers. These demands for more work and workers were fairly high and the pressures of harder work and lesser pay became more of an issue during this time period.

Thus the formation of labor unions came into place. Opressed industrial workers realized that they can stand to protect thier interests in collective bargaining for the better of a postive work environment and the workers themselves. The Industrial Revolution also created popular inquiry for more immigration workers which meant lower pay for much more difficult work.

The immigration process of new workers also formed racial tensions with southern and eastern Europeans and native- born Americans. Though the impact of labor unions and immigration have both affected the American industrial worker and the work feild intentively, the relazation of labor unions of collective bargaining have become a huge issue for employers, while the immigrants have increased the popular demand for lower pay, but harder work in comparison to “higher- leveled” citizens.

What are unions and in further case, why are unions formed? Unions are organizations that are made up of workers that help protect worker’s interest, whether it be through violent strikes or collective bargaining. During the industrial revolution, the amount of workers rose (because of immigration) which meant lower wages and abuse of employee’s work.

Thus labor unions formed in order to protect the hard working laborers in the work feild such as the National Labor Union (which eventually failed during the 1873 depression), the Knights of Labor (which declined in membership after the Haymarket Square Incident), and the American Federation of Labor.

Each of these unions had in fact different striving goals: the National Labor Union demanded arbitration and an 8 hour workday, the Knights of Labor wanted workers’ cooperatives, better working conditions, and an 8 hour work day, and lastly the American Federation of Labor strived for better wages, shorter hours, and better working conditions. In order for labor unions to support thier stand in the work feild, it took both courage and preserverence in order to be successful in attaining thier demands.

It was also very risky to be joining these unions and therefore would be the reason as to why labor unions werent as effective as it is in the present day and age because of the popular demand of workers.

However, labor unions have impacted the American industrial worker and the work field not only during the late 1800s, but also in the modern day because these earlier labor unions helped create a path of better working conditions for the modern worker: the 8 hour workday, the better working environment between employer and employee, and the reasonable wages.

Immigration of new workers hadn’t been something new to begin with during the Industrial Revolution. German and Irish immigrants had been domininant in the work field (during the antebellum period) because they provided the necessitites for cheap labor until the 1890s when these “newcomers” arrived on the lands of America.

Southern and Eastern Europeans (Poland, Italy, Slovakia, Croatia) arrived in the Industrial Revolution era, and were provided with jobs of cheap labor, which seemed postive in the eyes of employers because it was a “steady low wage and hard labor” course of action. These immigrants were basically “replacements” for both “old immgrant worker” (the German and the Irish) and Native- born Americans, and was a negative aspect in the eyes of white employees.

With this easy replacement of employees, native- born Americans felt threatened by cheap laborers and felt the necessity of causing racial indifference and tension between one another. American workers also feared that this influence can ultimately not only threaten their jobs, but superiority based on racial terms being that of white or being American was superior than any other racial group. This hard impact of imigration ultimately affected the American industrial worker by threatening thier only income for money (thier jobs) and thier status in society.

Hence, the formation of labor unions and the threatening immigrants have impacted the American Industrial worker and work fieild in various ways whether it be create a better work environment for workers not only in the past but also the present or to feel tensions between immigrants because of the possible advantages they have for being able to work for cheap labor and develop in growing numbers.

Through this impact, the American work feild has developed both in environment regarding wages, amount of hours of work, and the conditions and ethnically regarding races creating a reasonable and culturally diverse work field in the American society of hard working employees.