The Gilded Age And The Labor Movement Essay

The Gilded Age And The Labor Movement Essay

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Evan Anton
Professor Andrea Estepa
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The Gilded Age and the Labor Movement

The Gilded Age took place during the last thirty years of the nineteenth century where unionization of workers would become more frequent. The reasoning behind the name of this era is due to the fact that everything seemed nice on the outside in America but in actuality corruption and inequality could be found underneath the surface. As the economy was changing during the industrial revolution workers began leaving rural areas and flooding to urban areas for the opportunities, such as working for the oil or steel industry. The development of steam engine railroads for transportation and increased development of factory manufacturing techniques, caused more urbanization and generation of wealth for the employers. These factors of the changing work world cause the emergence of organization of the labor movement. The labor movement effectively made the workers voice head but both failed and succeeded in effectively achieving the main goal of bargaining power.
Working conditions that came along with the new job opportunities included long hours, low wages, and unregulated hazardous working conditions. It was common at this time for no laws with regard to workers safety. Some people worked 12 hour days; 6 to 7 days a week, in such horrible environments. At this time there was no sick pay, vacation pay, no unemployment insurance, and worst of all injuries went without compensation. These were all issues that would be addressed in the future by the labor movement. People were commonly losing their lives in work accidents due to the lack of regulation in the workplace. Many of the industrial jobs of this time became mechanized and required less skill...


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...rker but also ineffective in other cases. Its primary concerns were regulating wages and working conditions/guidelines but included many other desires that worked in favor of everyone in the union. Unions went on strike during the gilded age because the typical worker faced unfair circumstances. They were successful in bargaining for many things including increases in wages, improvements in working conditions, and even rights of unionized women workers. Many different unions formed to protect the rights of workers during this time. All of these different organizations used similar mechanisms in attempt to reach their goals. It faced challenges that included ethnic and racial divisions. The gilded age saw lots of economic inequality but the labor movement had an extremely large impact on the evolution of the workforce as well as the socioeconomic aspect of employees.

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