Gilded Age Workers

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Across the united States, there was a rise of big business and corporations during the period of time between the American Civil War and World War I, or the Gilded Age. The growth of labor and corporations continuously changed the balance between economic and political power within the government, as well as within corporations. This change in the economy was accompanied by a conflict between the employers and the employees. The employers would not give their workers the rights that they had deserved. This led to the creation of labor organizations which is an organization of people who work in the same skilled occupation who act together in strikes and protests to achieve better pay, shorter hours, and safer worker conditions. The unfair and …show more content…
Labor unions are a precarious balancing act; they have the potential to do good and bad. The National Labor Union, formed right after the end of the Civil War in 1866, was the first large-scale union created by workers to protect skilled and unskilled workers in both the countryside and the city but collapsed after the Depression of 1873 (triggered by the Panic of 1873). Eventually, in the 1870s, skilled and unskilled workers (as well as blacks and women) were again represented by the Knights of Labor. But, after being wrongfully associated with the Haymarket Square Bombing in 1886, they also collapsed. Despite these setbacks, workers continued to bargain and strike for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. The Great Railroad Strike, the Homestead Strike, and the Pullman Strike were the most notable strikes of this era. The labor movement also led to the creation of the most powerful union of the late 1880s, the American Federation of Labor. Labor unions ended child labor, established the legal rights of workers being able to form unions and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions, secured a guaranteed minimum wage and unemployment insurance for workers who lost their jobs. They also improved workplace safety and reduced on the job fatalities, and won workers’ compensation benefits for people who are injured on the job, pension, healthcare insurance, paid sick leave, vacations and holidays as standard benefits for

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