Women of Labor 4
(Born 1974) Ai-Jen Poo is the director the National Domestic Workers Alliance and has been organizing domestic workers for nearly 20 years. Poo’s big breakthrough happened on July 1, 2010, when the New York state legislature passed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The bill gave domestic workers the same rights as any other employee, such as vacation time and overtime pay. She has since expanded operations to include 17 cities and 11 states. She is a 2014 recipient of the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award and has published a book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.
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(November 4, 1891 – March 3, 1987) Rosina Tucker was instrumental in helping to organize the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African-American trade union. She was married to a railroad porter and visited the homes of more than 300 workers to secretly collect their union dues. In 1938 she was elected secretary-treasurer of the union’s auxiliary. Her labor work did not stop there; she helped organize teachers, laundry workers and railway clerks in Washington D.C. At the age of one hundred, Tucker narrated an award-winning documentary about the union, Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle.
You can find out more about Rosina Tucker HERE
( Died January 29, 1912) Anna LoPizzo was a striker killed during the Lawrence Textile Strike (also known as the Bread and Roses Strike). Her death on January 29th is still a mysterious topic. It occurred when a shot was fired into a crowd of scuffling strikers and police. LoPizzo was a bystander struck in the chest and killed by the bullet. Strikers claimed the shot came from Police Officer Oscar Benoit, but police blamed the strikers. Anna’s death was significant to both sides in the struggle. Bruce Watson wrote, “If America had a Tomb of the Unknown Immigrant paying tribute to the millions of immigrants known only to God and distant cousins compiling family trees, Anna LoPizzo would be a prime candidate to lie in it.”
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“Any new method which the company sought to put into effect and disturb our work
routine seemed to inflame the deep indignation already burning inside us. Thus, when a procedure was suggested for subdividing our work so that each operator would do a smaller part of each glove, and thus perhaps increase the overall production—but also increase the monotony of the work, and perhaps also decrease our rate of pay—we began to think of fighting back.”
(June 24, 1878 – 28 December 1948) Agnes Nestor was an American labor leader, politician, and social reformer. Oppressive conditions at her glove factory pushed her into taking a leading role in a successful strike of female glove workers in 1898 with the International Glove Workers Union (IGWO). She became president of her glove workers local and later, a leader in the IGWO. She later took a leading role in the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL), where she organized for women’s suffrage and workers’ rights. She served as president of the Chicago WTUL branch from 1913 to 1948.
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“All we knew was the bitter fact that after working 70 or 80 hours in a seven-day week, we did not earn enough to keep body and soul together.”
(October 18, 1887 – April 8, 1986) Newman was a labor activist who began working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1903 when she was thirteen years old. She taught many of her co-workers to read by organizing a evening study group were they also discussed labor issues and politics. Active in the shirtwaist strike in 1909, she was hired as one of the first female union organizers by the International Glove Workers Union. She often said afterwards that the union job saved her life. She was organizing workers in Philadelphia on March 25, 1911, when fire swept through the Triangle factory, killing 146 workers, many of them friends of Newman. She spent over six decades working as the education director of the ILGWU Health Center. She was the principal speaker at the annual memorial observance of the fire until her death in 1986.
Read more info about Pauline Newman