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Dallas strikers attract spectators and international attention


On this day in 1935, striking garment workers entered the Morten-Davis and Lorch Manufacturing companies in Dallas and stripped the clothing from ten female employees. Not only did the action attract hundreds of spectators, but accounts of the strikers' actions appeared in newspapers in Italy, Australia, and New York. In 1934 the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union began to organize in Dallas with the workers' support because of low wages in comparison with other parts of the country. The strike began in early February 1934 when Dallas dress manufacturers began dismissing workers suspected of union activity. Workers walked out of fifteen Dallas factories. Pickets clashed with police attempting to keep strikebreakers from entering factories. At least eighty-six women were arrested. Although the "strike stripping" led local pastors to call for an arbitrated settlement, Dallas employers would not negotiate. The strike ended in November 1935 when the dressmakers voted to end their walkout. Despite the dressmakers' initial defeat, the ILGWU maintained its two Dallas locals. By 1936 five local dress plants operated as union shops.

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