1886 - 1982
By: Preston F | Date Added: 2021-10-12T14:31:12Z
Clara Lemlich was a key figure in the women’s Labor movement. She immigrated to the United States just six years earlier, fleeing anti-Semitism in Ukraine, and worked at a shirtwaist factory in New York for meager wages. She joined the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) when she was 17 and wrote passionate editorials and organized a series of strikes to improve working conditions, often risking her life in the process: She was once hospitalized after being badly beaten at a picket line. In November 1909, Lemlich led the Uprising of the 20,000 in New York City, a strike lasting months, with a rousing speech in her native Yiddish: “I am a working girl, one of those who are on strike against intolerable conditions. I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in general terms. What we are here for is to decide whether we shall strike or shall not strike. I offer a resolution that a general strike be declared now.” She and 15,000 others marched the following day and won concessions from several factories for higher wages and shorter work days.
Share your thoughts on this story with us. Your comments will not be made public.Email