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Word Count: 872
The various labor movements in California have been among the most important in our nation As a state with a tremendously diversified economy Californias workers are employed in every industry imaginable from our huge agriculture base to our docks to aerospace to construction to the entertainment industry-the list is endless And in each industry workers struggled to organize themselves into collectives to shape the labor landscape of California Some of Californias labor movements have represented significant political events on a national if not a global scale-as in the historic struggle of labor activists Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta The gains made be the United Farm Workers inspired workers every where to fight for living wages and reasonable working conditions and it proved that poor people can claim their rights when they organize and speak in one voice In a word labor unions equal POWER But it didnt start with Chavez In 1894 California held its first strike organized by San Francisco and Sacramento Carpenters who pushed for a whole sixteen dollars a day Well they settled for fourteen However a year later the first official union was organized in California the San Francisco Typography Society Formed by printers at the Alta California newspaper the San Francisco Typography opposed a wage cut and in no time the power of collective bargaining overwhelmed its first obstacle The first of many Unions thrived for several decades after sending a sonic boom of labor reform across the nation Working conditions improved and wages increased Life in America as we knew it over took a change of titanic proportions for the better of course Despite all this success in October 1929 the New York stock market crashed and the value of stocks declined People lost their jobs their farms and their businesses By 1932 13 million men and women were unemployed In the past depressions had usually hurt unions Unemployment meant a sharp drop in workers dues
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