In the 1930s, the labor movement was transformed by the growth of unions made up of skilled and unskilled laborers. The violent clashes of the Little Steel Strike brought national attention to the labor movement and Chicago. Joining with other youth interested in radical politics, Mollie West dedicated herself to the support of unions and struggling laborers. World War II provided jobs, but presented new challenges to unions. Along the way, women fought for a place in the workforce and in unions.

Click on an image to see a story from this chapter.

 

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The Young Communist League

 

 

The Young Communist League became a popular organization for young people like Mollie West who were interested in radical politics and in supporting the efforts of labor unions.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Little Steel Strike and the Transformation of Unions

 

 

The Little Steel Strike of 1937 was an important moment in the Labor Movement, and one violent event in Chicago changed the life of Mollie West.

 

 

 

 

Mollie West circa 1940
 

Women and Labor Unions

 

 

Women participated in and influenced the labor movement in many ways, despite the fact that they were prohibited from joining most labor unions and barred from many jobs.

 

 

 

 

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Labor and Loss: World War II

 

 

During World War II, Mollie West experienced personal heartbreak and professional growth alongside millions of other women in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Header image: Mollie West by car

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