Economic, Political, Social?
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Jurgis’s work on the killing beds has also moved to a grinding pace. Often, cattle do not start coming down the chutes until ten or eleven in the morning. Sometimes they do not come until one or two o’clock in the afternoon. Because it is the rule that all cattle bought must be slaughtered on the same day, it often means that the workers are forced to stay at the factory until midnight or one in the morning to finish the work. The worst part is that men are paid only for the work that they do. Therefore, if a man is standing around on the cold killing-floor, waiting for the cattle buyers to send cattle to be slaughtered, that man does not earn any money. Likewise, men do not get paid if they do not work a full hour. At the end of the day, the floor bosses often try and work the men for fifty minutes, just under an hour. This means the men do not get paid for that work. There is great tension between the workers and the floor bosses because of these tactics. Jurgis understands the importance of unions now. He knows that America isn't the land of opportunity he first thought.