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Many bosses deliberately hired workers who did not share common languages or ethnic backgrounds. Here, a manager of a Hawaii sugar plantation explains this anti-labor tactic to a Honolulu commission investigating strike activity. Other growers had difficulty finding American-born white workers to endure the miserable conditions and low wages in…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1895

This photograph, taken during a labor parade in New York City in 1909, shows two young women wearing banners that read "Abolish Child Slavery!" in English and Yiddish. Jewish immigrants were especially active in many labor causes at the turn of the century, including the fight against child labor.

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1909

The first Lowell “turn-out”, or strike, took place in 1834, when owners announced a 15% wage cut. Lowell women were angered not only by the loss of income, but also by the threat to their vision of increased independence. Eight hundred women walked out in protest and held a march through the center of Lowell. When Lowell women "turned out" in…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1834

The state of Oklahoma suffered greatly during the Depression, causing many families to become migrant workers. In response to the dire conditions in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Tenant Farmers' Union argued for decent living wages for field workers, an extension of a wage-and hour law to include agricultural labor, lower interest rates on loans for…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1939

Co-authored by César Chavez and Dolores Huerta, with help from playwright Luis Valdez, the "Plan de Delano" outlined the beliefs and vision of the United Farmworkers of America (UFWA), founded in 1965. The UFWA, whose headquarters were in Delano, California, organized a farmworkers strike and boycott against grape growers that lasted from…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1966

In 1966, Mexican and Filipino grape pickers in California joined together to strike for better working conditions. Farm workers were excluded from federal laws passed during the 1930s that protected other kinds of workers. As the strike continued with no end in sight, the workers sought public support for "la causa." They organized a national grape…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1969

Founded in 1903, the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) was an organization that brought together working-class women, reformers, and women from wealthy and prominent families. The WTUL believed that the best way to help women workers was to help them organize into labor unions so that they could bargain for fair pay and safe working conditions.…
Even in the late nineteenth-century American West, a notably violent region, the violence directed against Chinese immigrants was shocking. The Union Pacific Railroad employed 331 Chinese and 150 whites in their coal mine in Rock Springs, Wyoming. On September 2, 1885, Chinese and white miners, who were paid by the ton, had a dispute over who had…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1885

Founded in 1903, the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) was an organization that brought together working-class women, reformers, and women from wealthy and prominent families. League members believed that working women needed help to gain better wages and working conditions, and that all women shared important values and goals. This seal…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1903

This script of selected scenes from the documentary Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl includes vocabulary defintions for difficult or archaic words.

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Item Type: TV/Film
Date: 1993