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UAW Statement on the FCA Announcement of Additional Production in the United States

For decades since the 1840s Lawrence, Massachusetts was a textile town that was the backbone of wool production. By 1912, it was the nation’s textile capital. Workers – most women and children – labored long, dangerous hours, many dying early deaths after years of breathing in toxic fibers and dust or being killed by machinery accidents, and then going home to dangerous, unhealthy slums. But no union wanted to bother organizing women, especially immigrant women, until the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) in Lawrence showed them direct action was the only route to change. Emphasizing solidarity and respect for ethnic diversity, the IWW led several job actions at textile mills in 1911. On Jan. 12, 1912, owners shortchanged workers on payday and half the city’s mill hands walked off the job. Within days, almost all mill workers were on strike, with tens of thousands on the picket line and union administrators from New York arriving to provide skills and resources to keep the strikers energized. The strike earned the name the “Bread and Roses Strike” after a woman striker who held up a sign that said “We want bread and we want roses, too.” January in Lawrence was brutally cold, and the sheer amount of support that poured in from across the country lifted the spirits of the strikers. The support extended to offers to care for the strikers’ children during the struggle which led to hundreds of children boarding trains, with their images of tearful goodbyes to their striking mothers caught by journalists of the day. Sensing that public support was swaying toward the strikers, the powers of Lawrence decided to act and set in motion a plan that would shock even the most hardened hearts of the day. Stay tuned for part two. #BreadAndRoses #PROUAW #UnionHistory ... See MoreSee Less

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