Dallas strikers attract spectators and international attention

August 7th, 1935

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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Dallas strikers attract spectators and international attention

August 7th, 1935

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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Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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