The Allegheny Textile Strike of 1845 began on September 15th in what is now known as the North Side in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Market House where more than 400 textile workers awaited an update on their push for a ten hour day, as opposed to 12, without a pay cut. The strike began over textile workers, primarily women and children, fighting for a ten hour day without a pay cut from their typical 12 hour day.
It was a peaceful strike until October 7th when there was a ‘riot’ that challenged gender norms about how women behaved in strikes and protests–women began literal mudslinging as well as the use of axes to break down the fences surrounding factories. These actions were mainly taken to scare away scabs that took their place in the factories.
On October 13th, civic leaders attempted to write to factory owners and convince them to change the industry standard to 10 hour work days but they were unsuccessful in this effort. It wasn’t until mid-october that factories were reopened with about half of their normal amount fo workers.
In March 1848, a law was finally passed for the 10 hour workday, however a provision in it allowed for special contracts allowing a twelve hour day. This caused another strike in the textile industry that mirrored the 1845 strike.