Letter to the Editor About the Industrial Revolution

Working conditions today are usually good and pretty safe, right? That's what we know, is that all factories are safe, that all of the laws are followed, and that everything is great. Look at what you are wearing today, maybe a jacket mad in the U. S. , a t-shirt made in Malaysia, jeans made in Mexico, and socks made in China. To stay competitive, large companies contract out to manufacturers all over the world to buy at the lowest possible costs. This often ends in horrible working conditions for factory workers who make our clothing, both in other countries, and right here in the United States.

I thought that the working conditions were perfectly fine here in the U. S. until my eyes were opened by the articles that I read on the internet and in books. In the beginning of the Industrial Revolution had a considerable effect on the working conditions of workers. A large labor surplus led to very low wages, and intense competition lowered the profit boundaries of industrialists. Industries such as the cotton trade were especially hard for workers to endure long hours of labor. The workplace was very hot, and the steam engines contributed further to the heat.

Workers were exposed to the moving parts of the machines while they worked. Children often had to move in between these dangerous machines while they worked because they were small enough to fit between the tightly packed machinery. This led to the kids being put in a great deal of danger, and the death rates were very high. Added to the dangers of the work was the length. It was common for workers to work 12 hours or more a day. Exhaustion made the worker sluggish, which made the workplace even more dangerous.

In 1819, the Factory Act was passed to limit the hours worked by children to a maximum of 12 hours a day. Then in 1833 another Factory Act was passed that banned children under 9 from working in the textiles industry and 10-13 year olds limited to a 48-hour week. In 1844 yet another was passed that set a maximum of 12 hours work per day for women. Then in 1847, that decreased to 10 hours work per day for women and children. The Factory Act of 1850 increased the hours worked by women and children to 10 ? hours a day, but they were not allowed to work before 6 am or after 6 pm.

Then in 1874, no worker was allowed to work more than 56. 5 hours per week. Right now, some of the problems hat the world is facing in factories is completely fixable if the government steps in and takes action. The Congress here in the U. S. can make laws for necessary surprise check-ins on all factories in the states to make sure that none of the codes are being broken. I think this would help the situation a lot. Also, I think that some of the human rights activist groups could go to some of the third world countries and educate the people there.

Also, some of the groups that have a strong pull in countries all over the world could suggest action being taken in countries with factories known to be breaking codes of ethics. Some of the following labor violations are common in factories around the world. Wages for workers, especially garment workers, are notoriously low and are often under the minimum wage for the country. Many workers are also forced to work overtime for no extra pay. Workers often breathe toxic fumes, handle carcinogenic materials, and operate machines with no safety mechanisms.

Sometimes, workers are locked inside of factories and are not allowed to use the bathroom. Women may be forced to take contraceptives, or they may be fired if the become pregnant. Supervisors often verbally, physically, and sexually abuse the workers. Children and teenagers regularly work in these conditions for long hours. It is estimated that half of the clothing sold in the U. S. is made in sweatshops with conditions like these that compromise worker' rights and safety. Thank You.