Within the 40-year period of 1859-1899, the value of American manufactured products rose from $1.8 million to over $13 billion--mostly due to the industrial growth during the 19th Century and the captains of industry or Robber Barons. Soon factories, mines, and mills sprouted out across the map with cities developing around them. But without a work force, there wouldn't be such a rapid growth of industry or urban areas. So these Robber Barons turned to the European immigrants for the cheap labor they needed. These immigrants thought of America as a land of opportunity and felt they only needed to cross the ocean to be successful. They came with great dreams and goals but ended up working for these Robber Barons for extremely low wages and living in awful living conditions. Soon workers became sick and tired of these unfit conditions and wanted their demands to be met, so it was necessary for workers to unite and form unions in the later part of the 19th Century.
Urban industrial workers were bombarded with many problems, a major one being long working hours. They not only had to endure endless hours of labor and turmoil, but received scarcely any pay at all. To make things worse, they were struggling to exist in the late 19th century where industrialization was flustering and depressions were part of the norm. An average American worker earned a measly $500 per year and a woman only half as much as the men. People were not making enough money to purchase the necessities of life and thus, lived a hard, struggling life.
Long laborious efforts became more and more common in the US and the result of that was one of the highest industrial accident rates in the Western industrial world. Between 1880 and 1900, 35,000 workers were killed annually and another 536,000 were injured. There were more deaths in the working field of railroads and coal mines. There were at least 2000 fatal injuries and one of every 399 railroad men was killed.