The rise of organized labor was a direct result of big business in America due to the face that most of the big businesses were had factories that required some sort of organized labor. Big businesses obviously require some sort or organized labor in order to be successful, so the rise of organized labor lead to the rise and success of big businesses, such as Carnegie steel and standard oil. Between 1860 and 1920, the value of American manufacturing rose dramatically from $3 billion to $13 billion. The steel industry produced just 68,000 tons in 1870, but a hefty 4. million tons in 1890. The central vehicle of this surge in economic productivity was the modern corporation. There were many big business and big business leaders involved in this movement. One of the most famous is Andrew Carnegie. He conceived the future of steel rails and was involved in the Bessemer steel mill. In 1899, he started the Carnegie Steel Company and became the dominant producer in the American steel industry. Carnegie used vertical integration to become the leader of the steel industry and to become the richest man in the world.
Vertical integration is when a business expands its control over other businesses that are a part of its overall manufacturing process. This worked out in his benefit and brought him great success and accomplishment. Another big business leader during this time was John D. Rockefeller. His calling was in standard oil. Unlike Carnegie’s use of vertical integration, Rockefeller used horizontal integration. But later in his life he switched to Carnegie’s successful method of vertical integration. Rockefeller earned the nickname “Wreck-efeller” for his examples of buying out small towns and pretty much wrecking them from buying them out.
This was a part of the monopoly system that he almost perfected. Rockefeller is remembered for buying up all of the components needed for the manufacture of oil barrels in order to prohibit his competitors from getting their product on the market. Rockefeller also got into a little thing called rate wars. the giant Standard Oil was able to withstand short term losses by cutting the price of oil; smaller competitors could not keep pace and either went out of business or sold out to Rockefeller.
Rockefeller also dealt with the system of rebates. He was able to demand refunds on public rates offered by the railroads. Rockefeller was, to some, a force to be reckoned with. Along with the rise of big business, came the rise of labor unions to protect the laborers involved in organized labor. The National Labor Union began in Baltimore in 1866. It supported trade unionists, feminists, and social reformers that leading the way to change in the American political and economic systems.
William Sylvis was elected as the NLU’s first president in 1868. With the influence of Sylvis, the NLU attracted many people and also helped a lot of people. But, when Sylvis died suddenly in 1869, there was trouble in the waters. First the NLU became divided due to politics. Then finally in 1872 the NLU, which was by then known as the National Labor Reform Party, collapsed when the presidential candidate backed out of the race. Another labor union that was formed during the rise of big business was the Knights of Labor.