We’re celebrating Labor Day by remembering the women of the labor movement.
Like in 1866, when newly freed black women, working as laundresses in Jackson, Mississippi, formed a union and went on strike for higher wages.
Like Leonora O’Reilly, who in 1881 formed the United Garment Workers of America.
Like Jane Addams and Josephine Lowell who formed the National Consumers’ League in 1899 to improve conditions for women.
Like in 1903 when Mary Harris Jones (nicknamed Mother Jones) led a 125-mile march of child workers to bring the evils of child labor to the attention of the President and the national press.
Like Lucy Parsons who helped form the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905 and said, “the reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps.”
Like Frances Perkins, the first female cabinet member who became the Secretary of Labor under FDR in 1933. She was instrumental in the creation of Social Security and the New Deal.
Like Luisa Moreno, who became the first Latina vice president of a major labor union: the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing and Allied Workers of America (UCAPAWA) in 1938.
…and many, many more.
“Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”
— Dolores Huerta, labor organizer and leader of the Farm Worker’s Union during the 1960s.