Andrea October 19, 2010 A. P US HISTORY During 1865-1900 technological changes as well as labor unions had great impact on the average American industrial worker either it be positive or negatively in the sense that workers were abused and underpaid to the point where their needed to be change. Technology was advancing steadily and new inventions were being introduced to industry at a rapid pace. With that, a new breed of machines used for manufacturing would be operated by the American worker thus creating tension with workers and employers due to them not seeing eye to eye.
Technological innovation created more jobs but because most machines were labor saving devices, fewer workers could produce more in less time thus having workers being paid based on time rather than the time spent on the job. This affected the American industrial worker in the sense that they could no longer decide when to begin and end the workday, when to rest and what tools and techniques to use further depriving the worker’s of their independence.
Since machines and the assembly line were of great use they reduced the need for skilled workers causing employers to cut wage costs by hiring more women and children. Due to employers lowering wages this just caused workers to work even harder and longer just to maintain the same income further showing the abuse they endured. Labor unions were a result of the loss of independence, desire for better wages; hours and working conditions the American industrial worker were deprived of.
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This caused workers to unite under the same cause and fight for what they believed their deserved. Groups such as the Knights of Labor believed they could eliminate conflict between workers and employers by establishing a cooperative society in which laborers worked for themselves, not for those who possessed capital but though a great goal for workers technological and economic changes made it impossible for each worker to be his or her own employer.
Most labor unions were a failure and didn’t really achieve much for workers and strikes stirred up due to these movements which only ended badly and without gains for workers. Technological innovations as well as labor unions though interconnected greatly impacted the life of the American industrial worker. Lowered wages due to the idea of efficiency machines provided further burden on workers causing labor unions to promise better wages and working conditions though not a success the idea of wanting to help workers impacted them positively and negatively.
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