It shut down a major U.S. city, inspired a rock opera, led to decades of labor unrest and provoked fears Russian Bolsheviks were trying to overthrow American capitalism. It was the Seattle General Strike of 1919, a century ago this month. All told, striking workers represented about half of the workforce and almost a fifth of Seattle’s 315,000 residents. Still, the strike didn’t achieve the higher wages that the 35,000 shipyard workers who first walked off their jobs sought, even after 25,000 other union members joined the strike in solidarity. Read why, nevertheless, the story of this particular strike is surprisingly hopeful for the future of labor, and 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.
— Read more from Steven Beda, writing for Consortium News