Arrayed against American Woolen and its heavily armed defenders was a rainbow coalition of recently arrived immigrants—low-paid workers from 30 countries, who spoke 45 different languages.
By Steve Early, In These Times
January 10, 2012
LAWRENCE, MASS.--One hundred years ago this month, thousands of angry textile workers abandoned their looms and poured into the frigid streets of Lawrence, Mass. Like Occupy Wall Street in our own gilded age, this unexpected grassroots protest cast a dramatic spotlight on the problem of social and economic inequality. In all of American labor history, there are few better examples of the synergy between radical activism and indigenous militancy.
The work stoppage now celebrated as the “Bread and Roses Strike” was triggered, ironically, by a Progressive-era reform that backfired. Well-meaning state legislators had just reduced the maximum allowable working hours for women and children from 56 to 54 hours per week. When this reduction went into effect, workers quickly discovered that their pay had been cut proportionately, and their jobs speeded up by the American Woolen Company and other firms. [...]
Read the full article: