One hundred years ago Hannah Shapiro, known as “Annie” among her fellow workers, sewed pants pockets at one of the Hart, Shaffner, and Marx men’s clothing factories in Chicago.
She worked 10 hours a day, unless the foreman demanded more pants produced than usual.
She earned four cents for every pocket she sewed.
Annie and her parents came from Russia to the United States in 1905 and the family settled on the west side of Chicago.
Her father, a former rabbi, earned a modest living teaching Hebrew and Annie, the oldest of eight children, had to go to work to help support the family.
She began working when she was 12 and was employed at HSM, when she was 17.
On a bright and sunny day, September 22, 1910, Annie went to work early in the morning.
She was saddened to think that she would not leave work until it was dark.
Upon arrival, Annie and her fellow workers were informed by the foreman on the floor that the piece rate for each pocket sewed would be cut from four cents to three and three quarter cents.
This was the last straw for Annie who experienced daily indignities at the work place involving work rules and wages.
She decided she had had enough and stormed off the job.