The workers at the Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile mills went on strike on a freezing January morning in 1912. They were protesting ruthless wage cuts and demanding better working conditions. As they marched, the striking workers carried signs that stated “Bread and Roses.” They wanted bread – food for their tables – but they also wanted roses – opportunities for their intellectual growth.
In Working, working-class individuals in Syracuse, New York, share their stories of confronting the challenges of the new “global economy” by demanding both bread and roses. In their own words, workers tell how issues of class, gender, educational opportunity, and governmental policy shape their lives. It is from this combination of everyday experience and aesthetic expression that the future of working-class identity in Syracuse will emerge.