In the nineteenth century and parts of the twentieth century, employees and employers were largely left to themselves to arrange a working agreement, including payment, work conditions, and so on. Employees had to trust that their employers would treat them fairly, and employers knew that if they didn’t treat their workers well, they might leave to work somewhere else. Although this arrangement worked well for many, during the industrial revolution, employees began to lose their leverage of leaving that kept employers in check.
During the industrial revolution, large factories rose up, employing workers by the thousands. Employers rarely had direct contact with their employees, and people akin to task masters oversaw the workers. Working conditions were harsh. If a worker showed up late to work, was in any way disorderly, or tried to unionize, he or she could be fired. Even children were hired and forced to work long hours in unhealthy environments.
And despite poor working conditions, long hours of arduous labor, and low wages, factory employees had nowhere else to go because most places of