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Labor unions were created to help workers who dealt with problems such as low pay, long working hours, and poor working conditions. It was very difficult for an individual worker to bring about change in a given industry. There were too many workers available and looking for work, so if a worker individually tried to make changes, that worker would likely be fired, easily replaced, and possibly blacklisted. However, if all the workers united in an industry or within a business, they would have a better chance to change the poor conditions they faced. It would be much more difficult for a business owner to replace dozens or hundreds of workers who had united than to replace an individual worker. As a result, unions developed to try to bring about changes that would positively impact the workers they represented.

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Labor unions were created to help working men and women get better wages and conditions. In the days before labor unions, life for the workers was often incredibly hard. They were expected to toil in unsanitary, dangerous conditions for very little pay. If they complained about their appalling treatment, they could easily be fired, as their bosses knew that there would be countless others who were poor, hungry, and desperate enough to take their place.

It was in the interests of the bosses to keep their workers in line and to treat them as individuals rather than as a collective unit. This made it easier to control the workers as, under the unregulated capitalist system, they tended to see each other as competitors rather than comrades. The guiding principle behind the establishment of labor unions was completely different: solidarity. The workers who formed the first labor unions understood the importance of organizing themselves: standing together as one allowed them to present their demands for better wages and conditions to employers and lawmakers alike. Forming themselves into labor unions made the workers more united and more powerful; they were now a force to be reckoned with in their dealings with employers.

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