Labor unions began to emerge after the Civil War when working conditions in factories became harsh and unfair. The lack of safety, health conditions, and appreciation for the working men began to anger many of them. These men turned to forming an organized group in order to express their opinions and ideas on how to make their jobs more appealing for them. They advocated for shorter working hours, more safety codes, cleaner facilities, and more job opportunities by eliminating machines that replaced the average worker. Labor unions were extremely beneficial to the growth of industry in the late 1800s. Unions such as the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor unified so many workers together- black and/or white, skilled and/or unskilled- that the idea of improving the lives of the workers was only one small aspect of what they essentially advocated for later on. They were not only beneficial to the growth of industry, labor unions were a main key in jump starting ideas on how to make the middles class life more livable as well.
As the factory industry grew, big businesses invested in machines to replace men in these factories as a way to produce products faster and more efficiently. The major problem with machines being built in these work places is that they no longer need the men to work. This caused a major increase in job loss and many men’s jobs were being replaced by robots that were said to do it better. Just as a human makes mistakes, machines often have many glitches in them which caused an inefficient job. Unemployed men were furious with the big businesses because they were now becoming more and more poor looking for a new job that had not yet upgraded to machines. Labor unions expressed their opinions by striking. Thousands of men stood outside their jobs demanding these companies to hire them back. With the economy slowly starting to be run by these big monopolies, no one could afford to lose business or their weekly income.
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