We Stand As One: The International Ladies Garment Workers' Strike, New York, 1909

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Girls, from the bottom of my heart, I beg you not to go back to work. We are all poor, many of us are suffering hunger, none of us can afford to lose a day's wages. But only by fighting for our rights, and fighting all together, can we better our miseries; and so let us fight for them to the end! Nineteen-year-old shirtwaist striker, November 1909 In 1909, on the Lower East Side of New York, thousands of immigrant women?many only teenagerstoiled at shirtwaist factories. For up to twelve hours a day, seven days a ...

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Overview

Girls, from the bottom of my heart, I beg you not to go back to work. We are all poor, many of us are suffering hunger, none of us can afford to lose a day's wages. But only by fighting for our rights, and fighting all together, can we better our miseries; and so let us fight for them to the end! Nineteen-year-old shirtwaist striker, November 1909 In 1909, on the Lower East Side of New York, thousands of immigrant women—many only teenagerstoiled at shirtwaist factories. For up to twelve hours a day, seven days a week, they hunched over sewing machines, making women's blouses. The work was tedious, the pay was low, and the factories were unsafe. Women who dared complain usually were fired. But on November 23, 1909, twenty-thousand shirtwaist workers from five hundred factories walked off the job. Members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, they vowed to strike until factory owners met their demands. They wanted a fifty-two-hour workweek, fair wages, and a guarantee that factories would hire only union workers. Police harassed and arrested the picketers. But they endured for almost three months, and factory owners finally met many of their demands. In this captivating story of grit and determination, we'll explore how the strike became a rallying point for both women and men in the labor movement. We'll also see how the shirtwaist strike dovetailed with the fight for women's suffragethe right to voteand for other civil rights reforms.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sue Poduska
From the "Civil Rights Struggles around the World" series, this book gives a very detailed background for the conditions which brought about the strike against the New York shirtwaist factories. The author does a great job of explaining a very complicated topic in easy-to-understand terms. She explores the ethnic backgrounds of the major groups employed in the factories and shows how the owners attempted to mix the groups to lessen communication. The rising population from southern and eastern Europe contributed to the atmosphere. The reader sees how many groups tried to help the workers and how jealousy and conflicting goals among the groups added to the tension: suffragists, rich women, educated women, socialists, and other labor groups. Finally, we see how the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire galvanized the movement in 1911 and helped bring about some changes. In addition to chapter notes and credits for the numerous photos, the volume offers a timeline, short biographies of important people involved in the strike, a bibliography, books and web sites for further reading, and a good index. Reviewer: Sue Poduska
VOYA - Catherine Gilmore-Clough
It is a challenging job to try to set a civil rights struggle in a cultural and historical context; however, the various authors of the books in the series "Civil Rights Struggles Around the World" strive to do so. In Who Will Shout If Not Us?, Kerns provides a brief description of China's early history before delving into the 20th century narrative that sets the stage for student revolts. Key characters and movements are detailed, along with sidebars that highlight their importance and provide easy reference for unfamiliar names or key concepts. Other titles in the series display the same careful research and well-organized information. Plenty of photographs and the sidebars with relevant information create visual variety, though occasionally sidebars cover two facing pages and awkwardly disrupt the flow of the main text. The commendable back matter, which includes a useful time line of events and a decent glossary, also contains a "who's who" that reiterates the prominent people and provides a solid paragraph of biographical information. Though these titles are notable for the level of care in both their content and production, they remain resources that only a limited audience will be likely to turn to, and then only when needed for research. Reviewer: Catherine Gilmore-Clough
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Laura Bufano Edge was born just north of Chicago in Waukegan, Illinois. She grew up in a big Italian-Irish family with lots of brothers and sisters. She loves to read, travel, dance, ride horses, and watch basketball games. Laura received her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Texas at Austin and studied abroad with the American Institute of Foreign Study. Laura has taught reading and writing in elementary schools, middle schools, and at a community college. In addition to teaching, Laura has worked as a computer programmer and owned and operated a computer training company. Laura uses her love of history to create books that bring the past to life. She enjoys research and uncovering little known facts.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2010

    GRIPPING!

    "We are all poor, many of us are suffering hunger, none of us can afford to lose a day's wages. But only by fighting for our rights, and fighting all together, can we better our miseries; and so let us fight for them to the end!" These are the words of a 19 year-old worker in the garment industry at the beginning of the 20th century. This is the amazing story of how hundreds of impoverished young girls hoping for a better life stood up together against an unjust establishment. The story of their hardship and heroism will awe and inspire. Ms. Edge is a master storyteller. Told with a tension that will keep you reading to the end, you will never forget these young women.

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