Jurgis suffers an accident at work. without his pay, the family comes close to financial ruin. (chapter 11)
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The packinghouses hire more men during the summer months, but they pay each one less. This is so that if some of the men go on strike, the others will be trained to take their places. Thus, Jurgis has more work but brings home less pay. For the women, their wages decrease by a third, and there are rumors that they will be cut further.