Bread and Roses strike

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Bread and Roses strike

Post  kosovohp on Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:44 am

Lawrence was the scene of the Bread and Roses strike, also known as the Lawrence textile strike, one of more important labor actions in American history. In 1912, Massachusetts law reduced the work week from 56 hours to 54 hours and subsequently lowered wages for thousands of women and child workers. The average worker at the time earned a $7 a week and paid an equal amount for their monthly rent. On January 11, mill workers discovered their pay had been reduced and went on strike. Fewer than 1,000 of the 25,000 workers who went on strike were members of a union. The Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) provided most of the leadership for the strike and also provided food and clothing for the strikers. The Massachusetts National Guard, private, and city police countered strikers for two months. Although there were many skirmishes between the police, militia, and the strikers, only 2 people died and relatively few were injured on either side. Immigrant groups normally mistrustful of one another banded together in the common cause of higher wages. When police and National Guard assaulted a group of women and children, public outcry forced mill owners to capitulate. The striking workers won wage increases for themselves and thousands of workers across New England. One of the major companies involved in the strike was the American Woolen Company, led by the son of a Portuguese immigrant, William Madison Wood who had risen through the ranks in the textile industry.[citation needed]

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