How did the mill owners attempt to increase their profits?

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jeffclark eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the year 1814 a man named Francis Cabot Lowell was a very progressive entrepreneur. He built a cotton plant that combined the processes of spinning and weaving both, hence the title of the book Loom and Spindle. The factory was the first of its kind.

He employed young unmarried women because he could pay them a fraction of what men would have demanded. The plan was a thriving success for many years, but as always things change and more profits are required.

In an attempt to accomplish this the following plan was devised:

In 1834, in order to lower their expenses, the Lowell mill owners cut their workers' wages by 25 percent. The workers responded by staging a strike and organizing a labor union called the Factory Girls Association. Two years later mill owners increased boardinghouse rates and again cut wages. The Lowell workers organized another strike in 1836. Neither of these efforts succeeded in changing the mill owners' policies.

It is amazing to watch the struggles that take place between management and labor any time profits are involved. The most unfortunate aspect that seems to get left out is "the human factor." While it is true that business must make a profit, there always needs to be respect between all parties involved. That is the only way it can work effectively. (Ok, I will end my commentary section.)

Good luck!

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