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General Strike

400 Dewey Ave
Rochester, NY 14613, US

Category: Labor Struggles

Used in the following map:

Rochester Labor History eMap

On May 28, 1946 fifty thousand Rochester workers walked off the job in a one-day general strike. Municipal workers had begun several months earlier to organize into a local of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Workers. Unable to deter the union drive, the city manager summarily discharged 489 city workers on May 15. The next day, 500 workers attended a protest meeting at Carpenters Hall and marched to City Hall; that night both the AFL and CIO central labor bodies held emergency meetings. The following week police carried out mass arrests of pickets at Dewey Avenue and Felix Street, near the Department of Public Works (54 on May 21, 2 on May 22, and 208 on May 23). Charged with disorderly conduct, pickets were held several hours and released on $100 bond posted by the AFL Central Trades and Labor Council. On the evening of May 23 a mass meeting was held at Washington Square Park to protest the arrests. The general strike began when the city manager failed to meet a deadline to negotiate with a joint strategy committee of the AFL and CIO. After 22 hours, the strike resulted in complete victory for labor: the discharged workers regained their jobs, the City recognized municipal workers' right to organize, and charges against all those arrested were dropped.