February 25, 1913 - Some 25,000 immigrant textile workers went on strike against Paterson, New Jersey, silk factories. The largely unskilled workforce of mostly women and children worked for low wages in unsafe conditions. The strike was prompted when mill owners doubled the size of the looms without increasing staffing or wages. Led by the Industrial Workers of the World, the strike drew luminaries such as IWW founder "Big Bill" Haywood and radical writer John Reed. A spectacular fundraising pageant was held in New York's Madison Square Garden. But the strike collapsed when mill owners, exploiting divisions among the workers, got the skilled workforce to agree to return to work, leaving the unskilled immigrants high and dry. Five strikers were killed during the 208-day walkout.
Read Elizabeth Gurley Flynn's recollection of this strike: http://www.scc.rutgers.edu/njwomenshistory/Period_4/flynn.htm