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Labor Unions in America

            As America moved toward a more industrially dependant country through the 1800's and early 1900's many things had to change. For example, as factories grew larger, more workers were needed. Women and children were also needed to join the workforce, and straight off the ship immigrants were recruited. With these "improvements" to our country came filth, unsafe working conditions, competition, and even bloody confrontation. Most of these situations had to deal with two major factors at this time: immigrants and the labor conditions. The problem with immigrants was that there were too many, and would work for much less. Labor conditions spurred many people to form together against unfair and unhealthy employers. Both of these issues had major impacts on the American industrial worker.
             With the "New Immigrants" coming in from Southern and Eastern Europe, usually with not a penny to their name and with no understanding of the English language or democracy, many of the already-American citizens soon became frustrated. The average industrial worker had no skill, he or she would just have to learn how to operate a piece of machinery at the most. With no skill, many of these employees were of no value to the factory owner. High cost of living drove people who needed to work to the inner cities where the factories were. With so many people looking for jobs, there was no need to feel sorry about letting someone go if they slipped up on the job. The difference between the American laborer and the foreign immigrant was that the immigrant had no idea what a decent wage was. When the American workers were complaining about poor wages and unsafe working conditions, there was always an immigrant to step happily in their place. And better yet, this immigrant would even work for less money than the previous employee had. Soon anger and resentment arose between these two classes of people in the same workplace.

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