In class we learned about working conditions, unions, and laws that were passed to improve working conditions. This song talks about how a worker would go in, work, and go home day after day. It says that the "factory takes his hearing", and that "men walk through these gates with death in their eyes." Working conditions at the turn of the century were bad. Factory work was dangerous and stressful, often with horrendous hours. Unions were formed to improve working conditions in factories. Laws, such as the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (which guarded against monopolies), minimum wage laws, child labor laws, working conditions and accident laws were passed.
The singer of the song would probably appreciate unions, which protected workers and improved working conditions. Safety levels were raised. So the "factory takes his hearing" no longer. Men wouldn't have to walk through the gates with "death in their eyes" because they wouldn't be so stressed anymore. The song talks about human rights. It tells that people's rights were being taken away and they were being forced to work dangerous jobs. It mentions difficult work environment when it talks about the "mansions of fear and pain". It talks about the culture, or way of life, of a factory worker, about how the stress could cause him to hurt someone or he might beat his child.