31338
exit-popup-close
Have you found the sample you need?

Save your time and order an original essay now!

close

A Study on 19th Century Labor Organizations

Download PDF

Labor Unions in the Late 19th Century

In the late 19th Century, many industrial workers were working long hours in terrible working conditions for an extremely low pay. Individual workers could not protest for a raise or better working conditions as they were easy to replace with many others who were willing to have a job for a lower wage. Between 1875 and 1900, workers began to join labor unions to protest and fight against the poor working conditions. The labor unions, however, were mostly unsuccessful in improving the conditions of industrial workers.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

- any subject

- min. 3-hour delivery

- pay if satisfied

Get your price

The failure of strikes was a major reason as to why labor unions were unsuccessful in improving the conditions of industrial workers. Because of many unsuccessful strikes, labor unions gained a bad reputation and were deemed to be radical and violent. In the Haymarket Riot, city police was trying to disperse a crowd of strikers when a bomb was thrown killing 7 officers and injuring 67 others. In the Homestead Strike, several Pinkerton detectives and Homestead workers were killed. Newspapers were only reporting on the negatives of labor unions and never the terrible working conditions of the laborers. A list of the names of the dead was published in The New York Times following the Homestead Strike depicting the violence of labor unions (G). Responding to the Great Railroad Strike, New York Times labeled strikers as “too ignorant or too reckless to understand their own interests” (B). In a cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly, a laborer is shown killing a goose that lays golden eggs in reference to the fable in which a farmer kills his goose that laid a golden egg everyday hoping to find more gold inside the goose (C). This cartoon depicts the laborer as ungrateful to the source of his income and his greed of wanting more money.

Also contributing to its failure in improving the conditions of industrial workers, labor unions in itself were generally unsuccessful during the late 19th century. A cartoon in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper on January 8, 1887 shows four cooks representing four labor union groups cooking a “labor interest broth” with a caption saying “too many cooks spoil the broth” (F). This shows the lack of unity of labor union groups who are fighting amongst themselves to represent laborers which does not contribute to any progress with the labor movement. Certain radical groups such as socialist and anarchist allowed critics of labor unions to deen all groups to be radical and violent, giving labor unions a worse reputation. Because laborers were highly replaceable, they were reluctant to join unions due to fear of losing their jobs or being “blacklisted” and never being able to get a job again. In a Western Union Employee Contract, a worker is reemployed by signing a contract agreeing to abandon membership with any labor unions (E). Employers could easily find a worker that was not part of an union and is willing to work for lower wage which would save them money and trouble of dealing with a labor union. Another reason why labor unions itself were not successful was because the government had always sided with businesses and not unions. The Supreme Court decision In re Debs, concerned Eugene V. Debs and the Pullman Strike (H). Debs, who led the American Railway Union, challenged a federal injunction that ordered the strikers of the Pullman Strike back to work. In In re Debs, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had a right to issue the injunction because the government had a right to regulate interstate commerce.

Although the labor unions were mostly unsuccessful in improving the conditions of industrial workers between 1875 and 1900, it did have a moderate amount of success. From a historical statistic of average daily work hours and wages in the United States, the average work hour decreased from 9.9 hours in 1875 to 9.4 hours in 1891 while the average wage increased from 169.2 in 1875 to 172.2 in 1891 (A). Labor unions also placed pressure on the government to protect workers with minimum wages, 40 hour work weeks, Child Labor Laws, and Safety Codes. Workers in an union had the benefit of leverage and job security against more powerful employers though union actions.

Between 1875 and 1900, labor unions were mostly unsuccessful in improving the conditions of industrial workers. Labor unions were not held in favorable light, mostly because of their failed strikes, and were viewed as radical and violent. Labor unions were not supported by the government and laborers were reluctant to join due to their fear of losing their jobs. However, labor unions did have moderate success in pressuring the government to protect workers.

Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. You can order our professional work here.

Download essay
75 editors online and ready to help you with your essay
close

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close

Thanks!

Your essay sample has been sent.

Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

thanks-icon Order now

Newest essays & research papers

This essay is aimed to analyze the severe implication of World War I and has depicted the life of the enemies on the battlefield in the form of art and…
The 1920’s and 1930’s were a time of great change. Progressive reforms embodied the nation’s growing sense of social responsibility and economic policies led a booming economy to come crashing…
The Great Gatsby and its Portrayal of the 20s American society experienced one of its sharpest changes during the 1920’s, with the increased masculinity of women, the rebel attitude of…
History of the 1950’s On the Road The novel On the Road, written by Jack Kerouac tells the tale of rebellion and thoughts, rather than an actual plot line. Audiences…
Hiding in Plain Sight After World War II, the U.S. entered the 1950s with a strong economy. Business boomed, and unemployment was at an all time low. Women returned to…
1950s was an era when rock ‘n’ roll was strengthening its hold on the society, but it was also an era that was fueled by racial discrimination. Regardless of segregation…
A Comparison of 1960’s Art The 1960’s brought about a great period of change and experimentation for artist; styles like pop, happenings, and minimalism. These provoked the public’s attention and…
1960’s and 1970’s – Black Athletes Black athletes during the 1960’s and 1970’s very much helped to advance the cause of integration for all. Just like the blacks before them,…
Children across the country are taught about the Great Depression in the United States from an early age. They learn about the causes, the uprisings, and the consequences; the stock…
In 1862, Walt arrived in the Washington dc where he intended to stay for few days. He wound up staying for the next 10 years. He became a regular visitor…
Through the Images: European Americans’ Attitudes toward Native Americans in the late 19th Century In the 19th century, the European Americans’ attitudes towards racial differences were mainly negative. They often…
Labor Unions in the Late 19th Century In the late 19th Century, many industrial workers were working long hours in terrible working conditions for an extremely low pay. Individual workers…
Load More

Eduzaurus.com uses cookies to offer you the best service possible.By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.

Do not miss your deadline waiting for inspiration! Our writers will handle essay of any difficulty in no time. Want to get a custom essay from scratch?
Do not miss your deadline waiting for inspiration! Our writers will handle essay of any difficulty in no time. Want to get a custom essay from scratch?
Do not miss your deadline waiting for inspiration! Our writers will handle essay of any difficulty in no time. Want to get a custom essay from scratch?