Item no. 28105
Occupation: Manufacturing: garment
Collection: Cornell University Kheel Center

"Uprising of 20,000"

The historic "Uprising of the 20,000" women garment workers during the winter of 1909-1910 has gone down in labor history as one of the most heroic struggles of workers.  Undaunted by the cold of winter or the employer-hired thugs, the mostly immigrant Jewish and Italian women walked their picket lines with a determination that surprised the entire communtiy.   They won a settlement that improved working conditions in only some shops--a list which unfortunately did not include the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  

The original caption on this photo, from a Union publication during the strike, was "Militant strike pickets." The words on the strike sign read "STRIKE, 30,000 Shirt Waist Makers, Higher Wages, Shorter Hours." In the photo, on the strike sign above the number 30,000, is the name of the factory where these women worked; each group of pickets would personalize the strike sign to name their employer.

This photo is featured in an historical plaque in Union Square, NYC.  See the "Uprising of 20,000" plaque in our exhibit on Union Square.  

Current Events: See also the "Million Hoodie March" for justice for Trayvon Martin on March 21, 2012 in Union Square.

Photo from UNITE Archives, Kheel Center, Cornell University.

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Cornell University Kheel Center


Union Square