That women in significant numbers were active participants in the Puerto Rican labor movement of the 1930s did not escape the attention of the government. Women’s unions demanded their rights through political channels as well as protest and striking. Of note is the political play the women used in first appealing to the Chief of Police, and then to the Governor, both of whom were appointed by the U.S. government. The telegram indicates that the strikers feared that the police were siding with the tobacco industry and failing to protect female strikers. Government interest in the activity of women’s labor is also indicated by the fact that the telegram sent to the Governor was then copied to the Chief of Police one day later.
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Ciales, July 17, 1934.
From: Strike Committee
To: Governor of Puerto Rico
TELEGRAM: “Women workers of the strike against the tobacco industry seek protection. The Chief of Police denied it to us. Your Honor, we ask you to guarantee it.”
OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
San Juan, P.R., July 18, 1934.
Respectfully referred, by direction of the Governor, to the Chief, Insular Police.