Laundry strike: 1937
Laundry workers staged a strike at 13 dry cleaning plants in 1937 seeking union recognition and better wages and working conditions.

The organizing campaign was significant because it was led by the local Communist Party and relied in part on community organizations to help with the drive.

After employers refused to negotiate with the union, a strike was called. A number of employers attempted to remain open with the use of scabs and clashes erupted between strikers and scabs.

Police generally sided with the owners and rarely arrested scabs who attacked strikers. Community pressure on the police and employers helped to end the strike favorably.

The owners at 11 plants agreed to a "consent" election conducted by the newly empowered National Labor Relations Board and to conduct bargaining with the union if the vote was successful.

Workers prevailed at 9 of the 11 plants and contracts soon followed that raised wages from 25-50% and reduced work hours.

The campaign provided a model for organizing predominantly low-wage African American workers in the city.
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