During these years, businesses were growing in size and complexity. They were also developing more working routines (Taylorism).
The labor unions were fighting for, in general, better working conditions and wages and shorter work hours. The two most important labor unions were the Knights of Labor (a more radical union that disliked the whole capitalist system) and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) that was more of an elitist union that focused on "bread and butter issues."
During this time, the Homestead strike of 1892 and the Pullman strike of 1894 were two of the more violent and important strikes. Overall, the strikes did not do a whole lot of good and businesses generally came out on top compared to the unions.