How did progressives seek to improve working conditions?

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In the Progressive Era safety standards for American workers were, for the most part, appalling. Without proper regulation, employers were free to drive down standards to maximize their profits. The results were predictably horrendous, with serious injuries and even deaths becoming a depressingly permanent feature of American industrial life. If...

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In the Progressive Era safety standards for American workers were, for the most part, appalling. Without proper regulation, employers were free to drive down standards to maximize their profits. The results were predictably horrendous, with serious injuries and even deaths becoming a depressingly permanent feature of American industrial life. If employees were hurt on the job, which happened frequently, they were not entitled to any compensation. Many of such workers were the sole bread-winner in their households, and the disabilities they sustained from their workplace injuries made it impossible for them to continue providing for their families, plunging them into dire poverty.

It was in response to this basic injustice that the Progressivist movement advocated the introduction of workmen's compensation. This would ensure that employees would receive compensation in the event of workplace accidents. There was an economic incentive for employers to get involved in the scheme; the better their safety records, the lower the insurance premiums they'd have to pay out. Gradually, both labor and business generally came round to the idea of workmen's compensation, and it spread slowly but surely throughout the United States during the Progressive Era and beyond.

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During the early twentieth century, progressives such as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson sought to pass legislation to improve working conditions and protect workers. One of the most prominent types of working condition reform was the regulation of child labor. Progressive politicians passed laws restricting the types of work children could do, as well as the hours when they could work. These laws were intended to protect children and encourage them to pursue an education. Another progressive working condition reform was the minimum wage, which was intended to prevent businesses from exploiting workers. Progressives also passed policies such as the 1932 Norris-La Guardia Act, which protected the rights of workers to unionize. Labor unions employed collective bargaining tactics to advocate for individual workers and organized strikes against business policies which workers believed to be unfair or exploitative.

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