During the Gilded ages from 1865-1900 life was changing at a rapid pace for American industrial workers, and whilst some of these were beneficial, many were not. There were many ups and downs that came with the new trends just like in the early 1800s with the industrial revolution which prompted more efficient production and increased job opportunities but also started heavy pollution and a loss of farming.
In the Gilded age labor unions were being formed which provided safer environments for their workers as well as a better lifestyle. However, there was also a rush of new immigrants flooding into America which caused a lot of job instability. The Civil War marked a turning point in the development of labor unions as there were so many lives lost that people began to appreciate skilled workers.
The National Labor Union rallied for major change in the industries for benefits such as the 8 hour workday that they managed to achieve. Changes that were wanted were cooperation of the business owners as well as health and safety codes, which were flight for by the Knights of Labor. The American Federation of Labor tried to compromise with business owners to gain better hours, pay, and working conditions but when they didn’t comply they held multiple strikes such as the Pullman strike which ultimately led to the business leaders to give the employees what they were demanding. Even though gaining their rights took time it was a huge step forward in the end as it motivated the average working man and woman to shout out for what they deserved in the workplace.
In the end, they were granted the 8 hour workday, better pay and given national holidays off.Immigration also had a drastic effect on the American workers. By the 1880s immigrants had come mainly from Western Europe and American workers met these new immigrants with hostility and scorn. In order to prevent the election of Roman Catholics into office organizations like the American Protective Association was created and was incredibly Anti-foreign. Workers argued that if American Industry could be protected from foreign industries by tariffs which would allow American workers could be protected from foreign workers. Laws passed by congress that resulted in immigrants “taking away” jobs for the American workers was the Alien Contract Labor Law in 1885, which made it illegal to import foreigners under contract to work in the United States as then it pushed immigrants to take any wage that was offered to them.
Employers offered jobs to the new immigrants that were held by the American workers for lower wages which led to the immigrants being mistreated by the American workers as they became scorn by the loss of jobs and money. Labor Unions and immigration both had huge effects on the American workers from 1865 to the 1900s. Labor Unions aided the workers because they fought for better conditions and wages. On the other hand, immigration was bad for the workers and jobs were becoming scarce and immigrant workers were mistreated. Both created more tension between employers and employees