Assembly Line Benefits

1579 Words7 Pages
The assembly line was “the engine of American prosperity” of the 20th century, and even of today. It represented the values of the common American; acceleration, innovation, and efficiency. It ushered in a new age of mass production and consumerism, more goods were readily available to purchase, and people had more disposable income to purchase these goods. While the assembly line improved the American society as a whole, it also greatly affected the lives of those who worked on it, both for the positive and negative. While the assembly line did bring about higher wages, less hours, and unionized benefits for workers, its consequences greatly outweighed the benefits. David E. Nye put it as, “The assembly line seems as a dehumanizing force on…show more content…
It had brought forth the idea that one could produce more while working less. This mindset had seldom been used before the emergence of the assembly line, and the American public “burbled with excitement”. The benefits of being employed through the assembly line were quickly seen, and it greatly improved the quality of life for people. Ford, realizing that he needed to “link… production and consumption” implemented his policy of his workers earning now five dollars a day, one of the highest wages given for the type of factory work workers were performing. Not only this, but work days were shortened from ten to twelve hour days, to about eight hours as a strategy to persuade perspective workers to come and work for Ford.“Workers had more leisure time, higher real incomes, and more material goods…” Factory jobs were seen as extremely attractive to prospective workers for these reasons. In fact, “... wages rose more in mass-production industries than in other areas” Workers felt as they were a part of something bigger than themselves, as well that they were “indispensable… and empowered…” Workers enjoyed no longer being individual craftsmen and feeling as if they had a part to play for the factory. Workers’ attitudes seemed to be appreciative of the work that they did and they felt as if they were in this as a team, working together for the main goal of mass production for the…show more content…
Over time, the celebration of the assembly line turned into critique. Workers attitudes towards the assembly line changed, becoming that of resentful. Worker turnover became a prominent issue, and “many workers walked away from a manufacturing job just after a few months. Yearly worker turnover in some industries was over 100 percent … keeping enough men in position on the assembly line was a managerial nightmare”. After the five dollars a day was enforced, worker turnover was still at “54 percent”. Why would higher wages not absolutely resolve the issue of turnover found in manufacturing jobs? The answer is found with the work itself. “Ford’s employees were initially enthusiastic about the high wages, but most disliked the monotony of the work… workers benefited from shorter hours, higher wages, and falling consumer prices, but they worried about the loss of freedom on the shop floor, about the endless repetition of the same movement for eight hours, and about jobs that deadened the soul”. Workers found their jobs mind-numbing, dull, repetitive, and monotonous. To them, the benefits of their work simply could not outweigh the issues they had with their jobs. They felt like they had lost control over everything with their jobs, even small elements of their days. Not only were the worker’s exploited enough to feel as if they were machines themselves, they were also in fear of losing their job. Employment was
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