Today in Labor History – November 22nd

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The “Uprising of the 20,000,”occurred in New York, as female garment workers went struck for better pay and an end to sweatshop working conditions. 19-year-old Clara Lemlich, who led the strike, said she had no patience for talk and called for her coworkers to join in a General Strike. Their strike won some gains for workers, like a raise and a reduction in work hours to 52 hours per week, but did not end sweatshop conditions in the industry. During the strike, a Judge told arrested picketers,”You are on strike against God.” – 1909

In the black of the winter of nineteen-nine
When we froze & bled on the picket line,
We showed the world that women could fight
& we rose & won with women’s might.

Hail the waistmakers of nineteen-nine
Making their stand on the picket line,
Breaking the power of those who reign,
Pointing the way, smashing the chain.

The district president of the American Federation of Labor and two other white men are shot and killed in Bogalusa, Al. as they attempt to assist an African-American organizer working to unionize African-American workers at the Great Southern Lumber Co. – 1919

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