Wanted: 50 hr. work week

In June, 1911, the Cleveland garment workers, mostly immigrant women, struck for a series of demands the owners considered outrageous: a 50 hour work week; a “short Saturday” (7:30am to 1:30pm); Sundays off; not being charged for use of the owners’ machines and materials and a closed shop.
Strikebreakers, police and infiltrators incited violence, women fought back and were massively imprisoned. Traditional allies like women’s suffragettes and the progressive community, for various reasons, did not support the strike. After four months the strike ended with no concessions by management. Elsewhere, unions had more support and eventually the 50 hour workweek was gained. Notice: fifty. If you are not paying your employer for use of your computer, thank a striker.

My reason for sharing this is that I was just in Cleveland for a reading at the Western Reserve Historical Society and research on labor conditions in the garment industry which will be the background of my next novel, also with an immigration theme. The switch from medieval to early 20th C setting is quite recent, but I’m excited about it. The middle ages can wait.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

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Sunday, May 6, 2pm reading from latest work at Hexagon Brewing Company, Knoxville, TN.

Thursday, May 10, 6-8 pm presentation on research on the historical novel, Blount County Library, Maryville, TN.

When We Were Strangers, Italian translation, to be presented in Pescasseroli, Italy, August 2018.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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