On this day, 12 March 1912, employers caved in to most of the demands of the Bread and Roses strike by 20,000 garment workers, mostly women and girls, in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
The stoppage, after it was started by Polish women, was denounced by the American Federation of Labor as "revolutionary" and "anarchistic", and so the workers instead turned to the radical Industrial Workers of the World union for support. The name of the strike referred to the workers wanting their basic needs met, "bread", as well as the beautiful things in life, "roses".
The workers held meetings which were translated into almost 30 languages, faced down savage police and militarily repression, who killed one woman and beat and jailed many others, and eventually won big concessions across the whole garment industry.
In particular, the workers won a 15% pay increase, double pay for overtime and amnesty for most of the strikers.
A campaign to free IWW organisers arrested during the strike continued until they were acquitted in November.
Learn more about women in the IWW in our podcast episode 16: https://workingclasshistory.com/.../e16-women-in-the.../
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