, who arrived in Lawrence on Jan. 13 and chaired the strike committee, the strikers demanded a 15 percent wage increase, double pay for overtime work, elimination of the bonus system used to speed up production, and the reemployment of strikers. The mill owners refused to meet with the strike committee or submit their case to the state board of conciliation and arbitration, and, for their part, the strikers refused Gov. Eugene Foss's request to return to work for thirty days at their old wages while he attempted to mediate the dispute.
Tensions erupted in street violence on Jan. 29, leaving one striker dead. Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti, another IWW strike leader, were arrested as accessories to murder and imprisoned until their trial and acquittal in November. Their arrest galvanized supporters outside Lawrence, who sustained the strike through donations, and William Haywood
, William Trautmann, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
took up leadership of the walkout. The strike committee organized a system of relief committees and in February began encouraging strikers to send their children to foster parents in New York and other cities, a stratagem that garnered additional sympathy and support.
On Feb. 24 the police and militia, attempting to prevent the departure of additional children, attacked a crowd of children and parents and arrested a number of them. The publicity that resulted compelled the governor, Congress, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor to investigate the situation in Lawrence.
On Mar. 1, with over 20,000 textile workers on strike and public opinion clearly on the side of the strikers, the American Woolen Co. offered a 5 to 7 percent wage increase, which was accepted by the United Textile Workers of America and other craft unions that had joined the strike in early February. The proposal was rejected by the strike committee, however, which negotiated a settlement that included a 5 percent wage increase for piece workers, 5 to 20 percent increases for hourly workers, time and a quarter for overtime, more frequent payment of bonuses, and no discrimination against strikers. The strike at most mills ended on Mar. 14.