Were Labor Unions Justified?

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< Labor Unions: Were They Justified? >

In the late 19th-century, a new theory in the field of business and production was emerging. Most commonly known as ‘Social Darwinism’, it was a parodical twist of the Darwin theory of natural selection, or the ‘survival of the fittest.’ The corruption and the dark sides of business were accepted as a natural process, and was not questioned or intervened. In a full-fledged Industrial Age, the average American citizen had to try his best to rise from his ranks in order not to be labeled as lackadaisical and inferior.

On the outside, the industry-based society seemed to be an improvement from the agrarian one that the United States had before. However, in the inside of the factories, unspeakable dangers and back-breaking toil were constant threats to the workers, some young as 6 or 7 years of age. The biggest contributor to this increase in abuse was the steel mills, textile factories, and meat-packing industries. Long hours in cramped, unsanitary, and highly dangerous spaces, and not enough salary to compensate for them were the biggest concern and the source of anger in the workers. The beginnings of a union was formed in the late 1700s, but there was no radical change until the year 1866, when an official union called the NLU (National Labor Union) was formed. So, the dismal working conditions and proactive workers were the origins of the first official labor union.

The labor union was justified and was a good decision to help the majority of the society at that time. The National Labor Union was useful in balancing the market power of the big corporations and individual workers. By demanding better working conditions, wages, and personal benefits, the labor unions were able to lessen the corporations’ powers, and represent themselves.
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