1928 New Bedford textile strike
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The 1928 New Bedford textile strike was a mass work stoppage of approximately 30,000 machinery operatives in several of the large cotton mills located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. The strike, which ran for several months during the spring and summer of 1928, is remembered for the prominent role played by the Workers (Communist) Party of America in mobilizing the immigrant workers of the region.
The strike began April 16, 1928, over a proposed 10 percent wage cut for factory operatives. Strikers demanded not only the abolition of the planned cut in wages but a 20 percent wage increase and implementation of the 40-hour work week. After considerable controversy control of the strike passed from the Communist-led Textile Mill Committee (TMC) to sundry craft unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.
The strike ended in early October when negotiators for the seven non-Communist craft unions representing the strikers accepted the offer of mill owners for a 5 percent wage cut and promises of 30 days' notice before implementation of any further wage reductions. After ratifying the contract over the weekend, strikers defied a last ditch TMC effort to derail the agreement and returned to work on Monday, October 8.
As a radical-led labor stoppage in the American textile industry, the New Bedford strike was the successor to the 1926 Passaic strike and the precursor to the 1929 Gastonia strike, both of which tumultuous events are better remembered to history.