In honor of Labor Day, which celebrates American workers and their achievements, we look at images of past strikes in Massachusetts. In fighting for their rights, employee unions have stopped working and created disturbances to bring attention to the hardships they are facing. —Leanne Burden Seidel and Lisa Tuite
Boston Globe Archive
January 1912: The Lawrence textile strike began on January 11, 1912 after new federal rules mandated lower work hours for women and children under 18. The mills lowered their pay correspondingly. This led to the walkout and by the end of the ten-week strike 23,000 workers had left their jobs. The strike became known as the "Bread and Roses" strike as workers made signs that read, "We Want Bread, But Roses Too."
Boston Public Library
September 1919: The Boston Police strike began at 5:45 pm on September 9, 1919. During the strike Boston experienced many outbreaks of lawlessness. Here members of the States Guardsmen rounded up rioters at the Brewer Fountain on Boston Common. The striking policeman did not recover their jobs. On December 20th the last of the State Guardsmen were demobilized as 1,100 new recruits, largely ex-servicemen, began as Boston Police officers.
Boston Globe Archive
August 23, 1928: New Bedford children waited in a soup line during the 1928 New Bedford Textile Workers strike. Twenty-five of the 26 cotton mills here were closed from April 16th until October 8th. The children lined up daily to bring warm soup and bread home to their families.
Philip N. Preston/Globe Staff
August 22, 1960: The M.T.A. estimated 250,000 people were affected by the walkout of 4,000 carmen at the beginning of rush hour. The sudden and unannounced strike over stalled contract negotiations left thousands stranded in Boston. The traffic jam in downtown Boston was the worst in the city's history as outgoing and incoming cars converged. Packed sidewalks added to the tie-up. The one-day strike was estimated to cost over $6 million dollars to Boston merchants.
Charles Dixon/ Globe Staff
April 8, 1966: Paperboy Edward McCarthy, 8, of Jamaica Plain was photographed holding some of the first Boston Globes off the press as the Boston newspaper strike ended. The strike, which began March 6th, resulted in the longest newspaper blackout in Boston history. The cost was estimated at more than $30 million.
Edward Jenner, Globe Staff
June 21, 1976: The then-named Dorchester Bay Bridge at Morrissey Boulevard stayed open during the first Massachusetts state employees strike. Bridge tenders at drawbridges in Dorchester and on the North Shore left the bridges in the raised position as required by federal law when they left their jobs at midnight. Cars were forced to turn around and come back the wrong way on the boulevard. Supervisory personnel later lowered the bridges.
Tom Landers/ Globe Staff
September 30, 1977: Franklin teacher Dominic Compagnone held his children Marlo and Brandon after returning from jail during the Franklin teachers' strike. The 15-day Franklin teacher strike ended shortly before 7 a.m. when 175 teachers voted by acclamation to accept a new contract offer by the Franklin School Committee. The vote was taken at the local Elks Hall after Franklin Education Assn. members had taken the proposal to some 60 teachers in jails around the state and they voted to accept it. Only one teacher, jailed in Dedham, voted against the new contract.
Edward Jenner/Globe Staff
May 8, 1979: Students at Girls Latin High School sang folk songs about, and in support of, their teachers who walked picket lines along the perimeter of the school. Some demands in the strike included a salary range of $7,800 to $12,900 in a one-year contract. The strike lasted 13 days.
Stan Grossfeld,/Globe Staff
October 17, 1980: Boston school bus drivers outside the John W. McCormack Federal Building in Boston protested the arrest of two of their drivers in Mattapan. The three week school bus strike ended November 2nd when the drivers - members of Local 8751, United Steelworkers of America - voted 108 to 13, with two abstentions, to end the wildcat strike.
Sally Kroehnke/Globe Staff
July 13, 1981: Striking America Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) who had not been paid since July 1 due to state budget negotiations, watched as Gov. Edward J. King discussed their strike on television from the news cameras outside the State House. Meanwhile, the number of National Guardsmen called to duty during the walkout rose from 500 when the protest began, to more than 3,000 to fill jobs left by striking workers.