Labor Rights

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Rebekah Kohut honored for fifty years of communal activism

November 21, 1935

U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, NYC Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Rabbi Stephen S.

Clara Lemlich sparks "Uprising of the 20,000"

November 22, 1909

“I am one of those who suffers from the abuses described here, and I move that we go on a general strike.” Thus, in Yiddish, 23-year-old Clara Lemlich addressed a crowd of thousands of restless laborers at New York City’s Cooper Union on November 22, 1909.

Bella Abzug elected to Congress

November 3, 1970

On November 3, 1970, Bella Abzug was elected to the United States House of Representatives on a proudly feminist, anti-war, environmentalist platform, becoming th

Rose Schneiderman named officer of NY State Labor Party

July 16, 1936

At a meeting in the Hotel New Yorker on July 16, 1936, Rose Schneiderman was elected vice chairman of the New York State Labor Party.

"Something Rotten in America"

June 27, 1931

Labor economist Theresa Wolfson was the principal speaker at the opening of the Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry.

First North Carolinian graduates from Smith College

June 18, 1901

On June 18, 1901, Gertrude Weil became the first North Carolina resident to graduate from Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Activist Clara Shavelson leads butcher shop boycott

May 27, 1935

On May 27, 1935, New York City women, organized as the City Action Committee Against the High Cost of Living, picketed butcher shops to demand a reduction in the price of meat.

Labor leaders announce their engagement at May Day Parade

May 1, 1916

Born in Russia in 1889, Bessie Abramowitz Hillman immigrated to Chicago at age 15 to escape an arranged marriage.

Wage Earners' League for Woman Suffrage holds first mass rally

April 22, 1912

The year-old Wage Earners' League for Woman Suffrage held its first mass rally on April 22, 1912, at New York's Cooper Union's Great Hall of the People.

James Graham Phelps Stokes announces engagement to Rose Pastor

April 5, 1905

James Graham Phelps Stokes announced his engagement to Rose Pastor in a press conference on April 5, 1905.

Triangle Waist Factory fire

March 25, 1911

Approximately 500 workers were making ladies blouses at the Triangle Waist Company's factory near Washington Square in Lower Manhattan when fire broke out on March 25, 1911.

Labor activist Rose Pesotta organizes in Akron, Ohio

February 25, 1936

In 1936, in the midst of nationwide union organizing drives, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) se

Founding of labor Zionist group Pioneer Women

February 1, 1925

Sophie Udin and six other women who had been active in the labor Zionist organization Poale Zion, created the Pioneer Women’s Organization

"We have found you wanting"

Judith Rosenbaum

Ninety-eight years ago today, 146 people (mostly women, mostly Jewish and Italian immigrants, mostly young) burned to death in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. The tragedy was particularly galling because it was the result of unsafe working conditions, a lack of fire escapes, and locked exits.

Topics: Labor Rights

Lillian D. Wald

Guided by her vision of a unified humanity, Lillian D. Wald passionately dedicated herself to bettering the lives and working conditions of immigrants, women, and children. She founded the Henry Street Settlement in New York City and initiated America’s first public-school nursing program. A talented activist and administrator, Wald’s pathbreaking work continues to be memorialized.

Uprising of 20,000 (1909)

On November 23, 1909, more than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an eleven-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry. Dubbed the Uprising of the 20,000, it was the largest strike by women to date in American history.

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

One of the worst industrial disasters in the history of New York City, causing 146 deaths and an unknown number of injuries, took place on Saturday, March 25, 1911, at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company.

Rose Pastor Stokes

In her autobiography as in her life, Stokes fused American values of self-improvement with immigrant and socialist ideals of community.

Socialism in the United States

Disproportionate numbers of Jewish immigrant women in America were associated with socialism in the first decades of the twentieth century. Their radicalism appears to have grown out of the same sources as male radicalism—the changes experienced by the Jewish community in late nineteenth-century Europe and America, including proletarianization and the secularization of Jewish religious values. But Jewish working women’s radical consciousness and their militant collective action in America emerged in the face of extraordinary obstacles.

Clara Lemlich Shavelson

Clara Lemlich's impassioned Yiddish speech set off the 1909 Uprising of the 20,000, the largest strike by women workers in the United States to that time. But Clara Lemlich’s career as a revolutionary and activist began well before that famous speech and extended for more than half a century afterward.

Settlement Houses in the United States

Jewish women have played significant roles as benefactors, organizers, administrators, and participants in American settlement houses. Settlement houses, founded in the 1880s in impoverished urban neighborhoods, provided recreation, education, and medical and social service programs, primarily for immigrants.

Rosika Schwimmer

Rosika Schwimmer was a leader in the international pacifist and feminist movements, a passionate and forceful advocate of pacifism in a time of war. Schwimmer’s career soared during the early twentieth century, but, by the 1920s, she was caught in the backlash of antifeminism and antisemitism that swept the United States.

Rose Schneiderman

For nearly half a century, Rose Schneiderman worked tirelessly to improve wages, hours, and safety standards for American working women.

Anna Rosenberg

Anna Lederer Rosenberg was an administrator, diplomat, and public relations and manpower expert who advised multiple presidents. In 1950 she became the first female Assistant Secretary of Defense. Deeply admired by military and government leaders, Rosenberg’s success demonstrates how deftly she maneuvered within these male-dominated arenas.

Ethel Rosenberg

Few Jewish American women evoke as varied and passionate a response as Ethel Rosenberg. Convicted and executed on June 19, 1953, with her husband Julius Rosenberg, for conspiracy to divulge atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, Rosenberg was only the second woman in the United States to be executed by the federal government.

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