The Changing Workplace

The Changing Workplace
Chapter 8 Section 4
Industry Changes Work
 In the early 19th century almost all clothing was produced at home
 The move from home-based production to factory based production
changed traditional families, communities, and employer/employee
Maggie Swietkowski
Rural Manufacturing
 Until the 1820s, only the spinning of cotton into thread was
mechanized widely
 The work was finished in a system called a cottage industry
 Manufacturers would give women the materials to finish the articles, when
they finished making them they would send it back to the manufacturers,
getting paid per piece
 (MS)
 Weaving factories opened in Waltham and Lowell, Massachusetts
which replaced the cottage industry
 By mechanizing the entire process, production times and costs were
reduced for producing textiles
 People like Patrick Jackson, Nathan Appleton and Francis Cabot
Lowell invested into the weaving factories, and by the 1830s they
owned 8 factories with over 6,000 employees and a $6 million
Early Factories
 Aside from textile factories, other areas of manufacture
transitioned from few people to factories
 Artisans were skilled at creating items such as furniture and
tools, different titles for the amount of experience one had
 A master was the most experienced, who was assisted by a skilled, hired
journeyman, and an apprentice who was learning the trade
• Artisans crafted their products
until the 1820s when
manufactures were able to
produce interchangeable parts,
which made their jobs
• As a result, the machines were
able to do the work of highly
trained artisans, employing
many untrained workers
Workers Seek Better Conditions
 The first general strike in Unites States was in 1835 , when Philadelphia coal
workers struck for a 10-hour day and a wage increase.
 Although only 1 or 2 percent of U.S. workers were organized, there were
dozens of strikes between 1830s and 1840s – many for higher wages and
some for a shorter workday.
 Employers won most of the strikes because they could easily replace
unskilled workers with strikebreakers who would work long hours with low
 Many strikebreakers were immigrants who fled poverty in Europe.
SuAh Kim
Immigration Increases
 Number of European immigrants increased dramatically in the United States
between 1830 and 1860.
 1845 – 1854 about 3 million immigrants were added to U.S. population,
majority were German and Irish.
 Most immigrants avoided the South because slavery limited their economic
 German immigrants gathered in the upper Mississippi Valley and in the Ohio
Valley, where most of them became farmers and some became
professionals, artisans, and shopkeepers in the Unites States.
A Second Wave
 Between 1815 and 1844, nearly 1 million Irish immigrants settled in U.S.
 There was a blight that destroyed the peasants’ staple crop, potatoes, and
led to a famine in Ireland. The Great Potato Famine killed as many as 1
million Irish people and pushed more people to immigrate to U.S.
National Trades’ Union
 Journeymen formed trade unions specific to each trade.
 During 1830s, trade unions from different towns joined together to establish
unions for trades like carpentry, shoemaking, weaving, printing, and comb
 In few cities, the trade cities united to form federations.
 In 1834, journeymen’s organizations from six industries formed the largest
union called the National Trades’ Union, which lasted until 1837.
 The trade union movement was threatened by the unions formed by
bankers and owners.
 Workers’ efforts to organized were interfered with court declaring strikes
Court Backs Strikers
 In 1842, the Massachusetts Supreme
Court supported workers’ right to
strike in the case of Commonwealth v.
 Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw declared
that Boston’s journeymen boot
makers could act “in such a manner
as best to subserve their own
 By 1860, about 5000 workers were
members of labor unions and 20,000
or more workers participated in
strikes for improved working
conditions and wages.
Farm Worker to Factory Worker
• By 1828, women made up nine-tenths of the
work force in the New England mills, and four
out of five of the women were not yet 30
years old.
Armand Charkhutian
The Lowell Mill
 Mill owners hired females because they could pay them lower wages than
men who did similar jobs.
 Most female workers only stayed at Lowell for a couple of years and would
eventually leave to pursue other work.
Conditions at Lowell
 The work day started at 5a.m., at 12:30pm they would have dinner, and stay
until 7:30.
 Heat, darkness, and poor ventilation were prominent in the mills. Overseers
would nail windows shut to seal in the humidity that they believed would
keep the threads from breaking.
 Between 1836 and 1850, Lowell owners tripled the numbers of spindles and
looms but only hired 50% more workers and made a 15% wage cut.
Strikes at Lowell
 Under the heading, “Union is power,” ordered a proclamation declaring
that they would not return to work until their wages returned to what they
previously were. Mill owners fired the strike leaders but the workers
returned to their stations.
 In 1836, the workers went on strike again over a 12.5% pay cut and twice as
many women participated as had two years earlier.
Strikes at Lowell cont.
 In 1845, Sarah Bagley founded the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association
to petition the Massachusetts state legislature for a ten-hour work day.
 This proposal failed however the Lowell Association was able to help defeat
a local legislature who opposed the bill
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