On Strike for a 40-Hour Workweek (March 19, 1937) – Ms. Magazine

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March 19, 1937: Dozens more women were arrested today, both inside and outside the Woolworth store at 34 West 14th Street in Manhattan on this third day of the strike.

The strikers, members of Local 1250 of the Department Store Employees Union, American Federation of Labor, are seeking a 40-hour week for $20 pay and company recognition of their union. 

The battle began day before yesterday at 11 a.m., when organizers blew whistles as a prearranged signal—and 50 of the 100 women at the counters stopped work and began a “sit-down strike.”

This is a new and effective tactic pioneered by United Auto Workers at the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan, back on December 30th. Instead of walking out and being replaced, the strikers sat at their work stations and stopped production. 

By 6 p.m., the Woolworth store’s management had posted private guards at…

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