Immigration Patterns of the United States
During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, America had changed focus from agriculture to industry, and people moved from rural to urban areas. People were searching for jobs, and many settled for careers in mining, factory work, and other industrial professions. The cities soon became very overcrowded, which brought about a major problem with pollution. The working conditions were even worse than the cities, but people could not do anything about it for fear of losing their job. The labor unions did not help because they were unorganized, and incoherent. Women also started taking jobs in the mills and factories, only to be paid half the wage a man would receive. A myriad of problems including working conditions, underpaid and overworked women, and disjointed unions, resulted in a life of hardship for many immigrants and natives alike.
Working conditions were often unsanitary and the work was very dangerous.
For example, miners had to worry about a number of things including rocks falling on them, explosion hazards, going deaf from the drilling, flooding, and diseases such as "Black Lung". At that time, all miners, including women and children, worked ten hour work days, six days a week. Also, miners were required to buy their own tools, candles, and dynamite which added more strain to their low budgets. Low wages forced most workers to live in the slums, where the houses were overcrowded and the air was polluted. The employers managed the factories by what was most cost effective; they did not care about working conditions because the workers were expendable.
Unions are an effective way of changing wages, working hours, and other benefits. However, in the late nineteenth century the labor unions were not very successful. This was due to the disunity between...