U.S. History 1877-Present 3: Assenbly Lines and Unions

Believe it or not, people used to have to work just as fast as the machines told them to. Yikes. Sounds more like a dystopian future movie. Where's Neo when you need him?

LanguageEnglish Language
U.S. HistoryU.S. History 1877-Present

Transcript

00:19

us the assembly line Well electricity powered moving belts along

00:23

which workers stood and did their part to assemble things

00:27

Well the assembly line or the line never stopped like

00:30

ever twenty four hours a day This meant that workers

00:33

did not decide the pace of the new york a

00:35

machine did Sure Before this people who worked on textile

00:39

machines couldn't control the pace either Really But that wasn't

00:42

true of every manufacturing jobs Like if a person made

00:45

cars in the days before the assembly line the team

00:47

put a vehicle together as quickly as they could Or

00:50

should we say as slowly as they dared for fear

00:53

their bosses wrath for being slow Well even so workers

00:56

took breaks if a part was missing Well they went

00:59

to look for it If their breakfast burrito was causing

01:02

a little trouble well they could run off you know

01:04

Take care of that But the assembly line put the

01:06

kibosh on being human All the parts were there Every

01:09

worker worked alone in his or her spot on the

01:12

line Like they were kind of sort of a robot

01:14

with the blood and bad breath No team no conversation

01:18

no brakes Well that might have up the suck factor

01:21

in a lot of workers live The assembly line also

01:24

majorly upped productivity but this ended up turning the businessmen

01:29

who owned the factories into productivity junkies Efficiency experts like

01:33

frederick winslow taylor made a living going into factories and

01:37

showing owners how they could make people work faster That

01:40

he wasn't all that popular in the union break room

01:43

that told this took on the workers who had to

01:45

go at absolute top speed for ten hours a day

01:47

six days a week Well hey what are you going

01:50

to dio workers did what the line told them or

01:52

they were out the door Speed was king The electrified

01:55

factories of america Speed was money to this is why

01:59

runners from kenya were suddenly rich Just getting all this

02:03

electric speed though that companies could produce even more goods

02:07

Introduced more products hire more people and export more stuff

02:11

cheaper than most of the rest of the world could

02:14

Well it was tough on workers It built america into

02:16

the economic powerhouse it is today And eventually the workers

02:20

formed unions which fought tooth and nail to get a

02:23

more square fair deal Well guess what Automobile tycoon henry

02:27

ford actually ended up doing workers a solid by offering

02:31

them the eight hour work day like he invented that

02:33

he also up there paid a five bucks a day

02:36

and don't laugh five bucks a day At the time

02:39

most unskilled workers were on ly getting about four dollars

02:42

a week Five bucks a day was crazy Good for

02:46

these folks right Real partnership between workers and the bosses

02:50

and all that Well it made work in one of

02:52

those hard jobs in america seem a lot less sucky

02:55

really get paid for it and not much to complain

02:57

about right Well the turnover rate it ford factories went

03:00

from three hundred seventy percent in nineteen fourteen meaning three

03:04

point seven people quit for everyone who stayed when the

03:06

deal started tow only sixteen percent turn over a year

03:10

Later while sure workers were still doing a monotonous job

03:13

But at the end of the day they got enough

03:15

cash to live a modestly comfortable life and probably by

03:19

some ford cars as well Right Oh yeah they got

03:22

weekends as shown by the famous union slogan from the

03:25

folks who brought you the weekend Yeah so if they

03:28

were really cool more like a from the folks who

03:30

brought you the three day weekend when you think about

03:33

that hey well we can dream about having a life 00:03:36.348 --> [endTime] like europeans