Today in Labor History: First ever sit-down strike

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On this day in 1906, the first ever sit-down strike in American history took place at the General Electric plant in Schenectady, N.Y.

More than 3,000 workers, all members of the Industrial Workers or the World, stopped work in a wildcat strike. They were fighting to defend three workers who had been discriminated against.

When management called in scabs, the striking workers stood in place and took control of the machinery, making it impossible for the plant to be run by scabs.

One of the principal organizers of the action was the famous Irish Marxist, James Connolly.

Years later, a number of IWW leaders went on to help form the Communist Party USA.

Photo: Tobias Higby // CC 2.0

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