Industrial Workers During The Gilded Age

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In a time after the civil war, America improved their financing by switching to the gold standard, improved communication by boosting the telegraph, improved transportation by building railroads, and improved wealth by giving contracts for clothes to multiple companies. The economy was also improving massively also due to natural resources, demography, and law. Railroads allowed people as well as supplies to be transported quicker, safer, and cheaper. Companies bought each other out and formed monopolies which made the price go up and the owners very wealthy. Aside from all of these positives, there are also various problems that took place during the Gilded Age (1865-1900). Problems like how industrial workers and farmers responded to…show more content…
During the Gilded age billionaires like Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller were earning massive profits off of the backs of cheap, underpaid labor. Working conditions in the late nineteenth century were terrible and the pay was even worse.Workers would work for 12 hour days in harsh dangerous conditions with no job security and no safety standards These employees would earn a bare minimum wage of one dollar a day for six days a week. Outraged workers wanted better conditions and better pay, so they formed unions like the Knights of Labor (KoL) and the American Federation of Labor (AFL). These unions fought for eight hour work days, better conditions, and better pay along with other topics. The Knights of Labor included black and female members unlike the American Federation of Labor. In order of unions to get their demands they would hold walkouts and strikes. These strikes had to be strategic because the employees wouldn’t get paid while the protested. If a boss like Henry Frick, who ran a very large steel mill, doesn’t want to meet his employees ' demands he can either hire temporary scabs to keep the factory productive, or he can hire the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The Pinkerton Detective Agency was a groups of well armed and well trained mercenaries or soldiers for hire. These mercenaries would either threaten or kill employees to get them working again. One example of the Pinkerton Detective Agency being used was at the Homestead Strike in 1892 were over 300 Pinkerton Detectives came out to break up a large riot at one of Carnegie 's steel mills that was run by Henry Frick. Stikes planned by labor unions weren’t uncommon. One of the bigger strikes led to a whole riot called the Haymarket Square Riot. This riot started as a peaceful protest that had gone citywide. Until a group of eight people who were
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