Tracey M. Wilson
Many workers reached a point where they felt they had to unite and go on strike. Deplorable working conditions, long hours, and low pay united many workers across the state. Unlike the men, women were not highly unionized, though they still did strike. Sometimes the strike actions would pull men and women together when they realized they were both suffering under the same conditions. At other times it brought a further rift between the sexes because the men either saw the employment of women as destroying their skilled work, or saw them in direct competition for jobs, but receiving less pay.
Below are excerpts from an article which appeared in the
on November 20, 1915. A collection of articles on all labor activity in Hartford between 1913 and 1920 can be found in Connecticut State Library Archives in Record Group 33, Boxes 199 and 200. The information was compiled by Anthony McKenna working for the WPA during the Depression.
When the students read these statements by striking women, have them:
1. List 5 complaints that both male and female workers had in common.
2. List 2 special problems women had due to their second class position in the work force and in the larger society.
3. List 2 advantages and 2 disadvantages for the women if they joined a union.
(figure available in print form)