Striking workers outside the Wide Awake Shirt Factory, Reading, PA, August 11, 1935.
flipFlip to Virginia Matthews, secretary of the Philadelphia branch of the United States Textile Workers in Philadelphia, 1934.
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Women walk the picket lines in front of the factory carrying signs that read: Fight for the living wage, Beware Bosses speeches, and Reading Labor Supports Wide Awake Strikers.

Credit: Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

In 1933, 10,000 workers walked out of the stocking mills around Reading, PA, when their employers refused to negotiate with the Full-Fashioned Hosiery Workers union. That August, the National Labor Board mediated a strike settlement by supervising secret-ballot elections to determine who would represent the workers. The use of elections rather than strikes, called "Reading Formula," became a cornerstone of national labor policy during the Great Depression, and especially useful in the mining industry.

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