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December 30: Rose Pesotta and the UAW Sit-Down Strike

The General Motors Sit-Down Strike began in Flint, Michigan on this date in 1936 under the auspices of the newly organized United Auto Workers. By remaining inside the factory rather than picketing outside, striking workers prevented strikebreakers from taking over production. Injunctions were issued, police raids occurred, but the workers, numbering about 2,000, maintained a […]

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October 9th: United Hebrew Trades

United Hebrew Trades, an association of Jewish labor unions in New York that boasted some 250,000 members at its height in the 1930s, was founded by the Socialist Labor Party’s Yiddish Branch 8 and Russian Branch 17, in coordination with New York Jewish labor unions, on this date in 1888. By 1910, according to the […]

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September 10: Rose Norwood, Lifelong Organizer

Rose Finkelstein Norwood, who led a six-day strike of 8,000 telephone operators in 1919 — one of the largest strikes ever initiated and led by women — was born in Kiev on this date in 1889. Throughout the 1920s she was a leader within the Women’s Trade Union League, the Women’s International League for Peace […]

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A Socialist in Congress: My Great Uncle, Meyer London

by Rosalyn Baxandall Discussed in this essay: Meyer London, A Biography of the Socialist New York Congressman, 1871-1926, by Gordon Goldberg. McFarland and Co., 2013, 328 pages. Meyer London (1871-1926), the first Russian-Jewish immigrant in the House of Representatives and the first socialist from the East Coast (Victor Berger, the other Jewish socialist in Congress, […]

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August 22: A Woman on the AFL-CIO’s Executive

Joyce D. Miller (born Hannah Joyce Dannen), a vice-president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, became, at age 52, the first woman to serve on the AFL-CIO‘s Executive Council on this date in 1980. The Chicago-born labor leader was an innovator in the labor movement who set up childcare centers for the Amalgamated […]

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March 20: The Cloakmakers Strike, 1886

Six thousand members of the Dress and Cloak Makers Union in New York, most of them recent immigrants, went out on strike against eleven clothing manufacturers on this date in 1886 in protest of the contracting system. Finishers, buttonhole makers, and cutters soon joined the strike, which swelled to 9,000 by April 2. Their central […]

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March 8: Jewish Working Women Take Action

On this date in 1908, some ten thousand women workers in the needles trade, mostly Jewish and Italian, took to the streets in New York City to demand higher wages, shorter hours, and an end to child labor. Their protest commemorated a similar outpouring of garment workers in New York in 1857, which had been […]

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