How did Andrew Carnegie treat his workers?


Quick Answer

Many accounts of Andrew Carnegie state that he exploited his workers, and at one point he lowered wages by 30 percent, leading to a strike. Many worked for long hours, seven days a week, and were cast aside when they were no longer physically able to meet his demands.

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How did Andrew Carnegie treat his workers?
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Full Answer

The working conditions in Carnegie's mills were so dangerous that 20 percent of deaths among men in Pittsburgh during the 1880s were due to steelwork accidents. Carnegie came across as uncaring when casualties happened. For example, when a machine exploded he expressed more concern for his loss of production than for the men who died. Despite these tough working conditions, his employees faced a 30 percent pay reduction in 1892. This led to the Homestead Strike, where many of the strikers held Carnegie accountable despite his absence.

Many of Carnegie's employees worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day. Despite this, Carnegie would push for them to work longer hours, while trying to lower their wages. Those who were unable to meet the physical demands of the job were pushed to one side.

Away from his business pursuits, Carnegie was a philanthropist. In addition to being remembered for his tough working conditions and unfair treatment, he was also known for establishing libraries and other public services.

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