Most remember Andrew Carnegie as a philanthropist and successful businessman, but his success came at the exploitation of his workforce. Carnegie was notorious for underpaying his employees and forcing them to work long hours. Historians believe his stingy ways can be attributed to his lower income upbringing.Continue Reading
Andrew Carnegie made his fortune through the production of steel. He was the first manufacturer to control every aspect of his product's development, from the raw materials to the technology used to refine it. Because of this, he was able to build a large number of factories and supply jobs to those willing to work. However, laborers that worked for Carnegie Steel often received low pay and had a tough time keeping a decent standard of living. These workers also worked extremely long hours in dangerous factory conditions where injuries were common.
Historians agree that Carnegie's refusal to increase wages accordingly lead to the Homestead Strike in 1892. This violent strike ended in a dozen deaths and helped Carnegie and other business tycoons maintain control over workers by denying them the right to unionize. Carnegie chose to fight unions and collective bargaining because he earned more money by maintaining control over the wages of his workers. The workers' rights movement suffered greatly because of Carnegie and his work.Learn more about US History