Striking workers outside the Wide Awake Shirt Factory, Reading, PA, August 11, 1935.
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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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