Child Labor YOUNG FACTORY WORKERS IN THE 1930 s The young factory workers did not earn high wages, the average pay was about $3. 25 a week. But in the 1930 s a whole chicken would only cost about 15 cents. The hours worked in the factories were long. The girls worked 11 to 13 hours a day, six days a week.
In those days girls were used to getting up early and working from morning till nine oclock at night. Factory owners believed that machines would bring progress as well as profit. Owners increased the number of machines that each girl had to operate. In addition to this, they began to overcrowd the houses in which the girls lived. Sometimes 10 girls had to share one room.
In 1836, 1, 500 girls went on strike to protest wage cuts. This protest was useless for the girls. Desperate poor immigrants were beginning to arrive in the United States from Europe to earn a living. They were willing to accept low wages and poor working conditions. Labor in America faced a long, uphill struggle to win fair treatment.
In that struggle, more and more workers would turn to labor unions to help their cause. GROWTH OF THE FACTORY As towns grew into cities, the demand for manufactured goods increased. Some sweatshop owners began hiring helpers to increase production. As the factory system grew, many workers began to form labor unions to protect their interest.
The first union to hold regular meetings and collect dues was organized by Philadelphia shoemakers in 1792. Soon after this, carpenters and leather workers in Boston and printers in New York also organized unions. Members of a union would agree on the wages they thought were fair. Members pledged to stop working for employers who would not pay that amount.
UNION STRUGGLES In the 1850 s unions campaigned for a 10-hour working day and against child labor. The effort to increase wages brought about hundreds of strikes during th 1850 s. Altogether, about 20, 000 workers took part in the strike. Between 1865 and 1900 s, industrial violence occurred on numerous occasions.
LABOR TODAY In 1988, less than 17% of the labor force or 17 million workers were unionized. There are many reasons for this, including: The decline of heavy industry and the increase of advanced technology industries. Automation and other technological changes that have displaced many blue-collar workers. Foreign competition, which has depressed some United States industries and increased unemployment and many more. Many countries today especially poor ones treat children workers like slaves. Today about 100 million to 200 million children worldwide spend there child hoods working in factories.
Child labor is a problem only when children are used unfairly. Many children especially illegal immigrants are still used in the U. S. for cheap labor; this started to occur in the U.
S. during the Civil War in 1861-1865. 95% of exploited child labors are in poor countries. Children do everything from making shoes in Portugal, to sewing clothes in Mexico. In 1993, 188 girls and young women died in a toy factory fire in Thailand. Children as young as six work in factories as cheap or sometimes even free labor.
These children are actually bought and sold by employers. They are then put to work under inhuman conditions. Girls and boys alike are forced into hard labor. In the cotton mills 10 year old girls and boys stayed on their feet for 12 hours, working in the damp, lint filled air. Employers used child labors for two major reasons, one reason is children work for little money and they are easy to control.
Parents allow or sometimes force them to work for many reasons. The main reason is the parents are poor. This map shows where the children work in the country and what they make. Below is the map.