Children Kitchen, Passaic, 1926
Courtesy, Emil Asher and American Labor Museum, Haledon, NJ
On January 25, 1926, six thousand workers struck the Botany Mill in
Passaic. The strike soon spread to other mills in the neighboring towns of Garfield,
Clifton, and Lodi. The strikers' demands included abolition of a wage cut and an increase
in wages, overtime pay, a 44-hour work week, decent working conditions, and recognition of
their union. By March, over 15,000 workers had joined the strike. All commentators agreed
that women played a key role in the strike, whether as pickets or through relief and
child-care efforts. In this photograph, strikers' children sit with milk bottles outside a
strike kitchen set up by the United Council of Workingclass Housewives to aid strikers'
families. In late 1926 and early 1927, most of the mills came to terms with the strikers,
who had won the right to organize in Passaic.