History of Labor

January 3, 2013

What were the working conditions like before unions?

Working conditions were harsh on the people. Children worked 12-hour shifts, often workd at night for only pennies a day. Regardless of there age, sex, or race, they all had low wages and long hours. Most unskilled white men worked 10-hour shifts for only ten dollars a week. African American, Asian American, and Mexican American men worked the same hours, but got lower pay.. Employers often expected women and children to work the same amount of hours for as little as half the pay. Men, women, and children were exhausted at the end of each day. This made the working conditions even harder and more dangerous. Many railroad workers were injured and even killed on the job. The employers felt as if they were not responsible for the workers deaths and injuries. They made no attempt to improve on the working area. They had towns were the company owned the workers homes. Workers often spent most of their pay checks on food and other necessities.