In Gilded ages from 1865-1900 life was changing at a rapid pace for American workers, and whilst some of these were beneficial, many of the changes could be considered disadvantageous. 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. On the contrary, there was also a rush of migrants from Europe and Asia flooding to 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 rules and regulations for their safety, which were fought 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.
Immigrants came flooding in from mostly European and asian countries at the end of the 1800s and were bombarded with hate and fear. In order to prevent the election of Roman Catholics into office groups like the American Protective Association was created and was incredibly Anti-foreign. American workers demanded that they should be protected against immigrant workers just as corporations and businesses had tariffs to defend them. 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 accept any wage that was offered to them. Employers gave job opportunities to the immigrants that were originally held by the American workers for lesser pay that led to the immigrants being even more hated and discriminated against by the American workers as they became angry and jealous as they had lost their jobs and money. Labor Unions and immigration both had huge effects on the American workers from 1865 to the 1900s.
Better lifestyles and work environments were demanded for and eventually granted with the help of Labor Unions. However, immigration was disadvantageous for all workers as jobs were becoming harder to come by and immigrant workers were heavily abused. The creation of Labor Unions and migration of foreign workers both caused huge changes but also created mass amounts of tensions between employer and employees.