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The Seattle General Strike of 1919

front page of newspaper from 1919

This week marked the 100-year anniversary of the Seattle General Strike, a five-day period that saw nearly half of the city’s workforce walking off their jobs in protest of low wages. Though the strike was a comparatively short event, its effect on society was lasting and far-reaching.

“the Seattle General Strike offers an important lesson about the power of organized laborer”

Steven Beda, assistant professor with an interest in labor history, discusses this event in this piece, Why the Seattle General Strike of 1919 should inspire a new generation of labor activists, posted to The Conversation. Beda explains what factors led thousands of workers to strike, and what lessons we can derive from their story.

“In my view,” Beda writes, “the story of this particular strike is surprisingly hopeful for the future of labor. And I believe it holds lessons for today’s labor activists—whether they’re striking teachers in West Virginia or Arizona, mental health workers in California or Google activists in offices across the world.”