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Technological change during the Industrial Revolution spurred a great movement to the cities for people to find work. People came from all over Europe and Asia to find new jobs and make a new life for themselves. One of the major technological advancements that grew rapidly from 1860 to 1900 was that of the railroad, which became an advantage for big business. Another significant invention of the Industrial Age was that of the assembly line, invented by Henry Ford. This changed everything because now goods could be produced faster and cheaper, putting more money in the owners pockets. Also, people could be hired and fired at ease because no specific skill is needed to work on the assembly line. Workers stand in a certain order and put together one part of a good, performing a specific task. Many immigrants worked on these assembly lines in factories making things like cars, and textiles. However, the factories had horrible working conditions. People worked in an unsafe environment for long hours and little pay. There were no governmental laws against this however, and there were not even regulated building codes to keep workers safe. It was not until the rise of labor unions in the 1880's that people began to push for better working conditions. They used strikes to get better working conditions. They were not always seen as positive and sometimes were seen as violent. It was not until tragedy in instances like the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in 1911 that labor unions became positive once again. 146 people died in what could have been a preventable fire. The U.S. Department of Labor was created in 1913 because of the persistent labor unions and now today we have better conditions, better pay, shorter hours and no child labor.
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