The Impact Of Labor Unions In The Jungle By Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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As industrial strength grew and technology advanced, labor in America changed. Machines replaced many of workers’ old duties and some skilled laborers who had been previously valued became easily replaced. Immigrants who were willing to work under poorer conditions flooded into the United States, big businesses grew, and political machines whose interests were not that of the people occupied the government. Laborers worked ten hour shifts, six-day workweeks, and started work as children. In The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, he describes the painful and vigorous work in the meat-packing industry, saying, “The hands of these men would be criss-crossed with cuts, until you could no longer pretend to count them...They would have no nails, they had worn them off pulling hides; their knuckles were swollen so that their fingers spread out like a fan. There were men who worked in the these rooms the germs of tuberculosis might live for two years.” These suffering Americans appealed to the government and labor unions for help, but they did not receive it due to lack of union organization, big business ties, and laissez-faire economic ideals. During the Gilded Age, the U.S. government suppressed the average industrial worker, and labor unions, though created for laborers’ aid, accomplished little and were futile when facing big business and government. The government consistently took action that was detrimental to U.S. industrial workers by passing legislation that

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