The construction of many factories and mills started in the early 1800s (Saddleback, 2008). During this period of time, most workplaces in the factories required neither special skills nor exceptional strength, which encouraged factory owners to employ both women and men. Factory owners liked female workers because they seemed to be more obedient and better than their male counterparts were (Saddleback, 2008). However, economic laws forced the female workers to work harder regardless of a constant pay. The hard work forced children to help their mothers in the factories (Saddleback, 2008). This discussion will consider the major hardships factory workers experienced in the 1800s and one effort that workers made for improved working lives.
In the late 1800s, workers experienced a number of problems, namely hard physical labor, low pay, long working-day, and unsafe and unhealthful working conditions (Saddleback, 2008). Factories experienced stiff competition because of the increment in the number factories and firms. This forced the factory owners to decrease wages with an aim of minimizing the cost of production and the price of finished products (Saddleback, 2008). The factory owners increased the number of machines for the women workers. Most workers, especially children and women, received no compensation for injury or illness, and feared losing their jobs in case they joined unions or complained (Saddleback, 2008).
However, many workers started to form labor unions in order to protect their rights and interests. The labor union members would agree on the remunerations they thought were proportional to the portion of work (Saddleback, 2008). Later on, the union members campaigned against child labor and for ten hours working-day. Eventually, the factory workers formed national unions in hope of ameliorating working conditions and increasing wages (Saddleback, 2008). The union’s efforts resulted in many protests and strikes. In many cases, protests and unions proved to be effective.