Male Irish immigrants were subjected to job discrimination, such as the “Irish Need Not Apply” signs that some businesses hung in their windows to discourage job-seekers. When the immigrants could get work, it was often on the most bottom rungs of the professional ladder, doing hard labor or dangerous jobs that others did not want. Some of these jobs included laboring in the factories, mines, on the railroads, on the docks and canals, in sewer systems and in the Hoosac Tunnel. Wages in the 1840s for unskilled laborers were under 75 cents a day, which equates for earning about $20 a day in 2017. In 1851 a railroad company advertised for workers, offering good pay, but when Irishmen applied the pay was lowered to 55 cents per day. The workers protested and the militia was called in to enforce order.
Kerby A. Miller, Emigrants and Exiles. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.