A boss according to Webster's Dictionary is one who has authority over another. Bosses exist and have existed throughout all of history. .
Bosses managed the slaves of America. In THE JUNGLE bosses directed the lives, work, and politics of Packingtown and bosses manage labor today.
The behavior of bosses over time has varied and varies according to their own personal natures, the character of their own employers and the regulatory systems set in place to control them. Certainly today our "bosses" are controlled in behavior by multiple government regulations limiting hours, sexual interactions, hiring and firing practices, health care, wages etc. Throughout history bosses have been oppressive, indifferent, or, even sometimes humane.
Upton Sinclair's Packingtown bosses driven by wealthy industrialists evidenced some of the worst behaviors of men managing other men. It was felt that even the slaves of the South were often better treated than the "wage slaves" of the North. Sadly abuse of the "wage slave" was not limited to men but included women, the very few that lived to be elderly, and even young children. Bosses manipulated women in age old sexual harrassment forcing them to give in to demands against their moral standards.
The goal, of course, for the boss was financial gain for his employer - the wealthy industrialist of Packingtown, Chicago. In Packingtown, the labor force was composed mainly of new immigrants who were struggling with language, culture, and poverty. These people were targeted for many of the abuses designed to exact the greatest financial rewards for the meat packing industry.
In his book, Sinclair also details the horrifying abuse of processing the product which actually touched the sensitivities of the American people more than the abuses of the labor force. In any case, this paper addresses the treatment and effects of labor practices on the immigrants of the early twentieth century in America.