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The Labor Movement in Hershey: The 1937 Strike and the Italian Community Influence

Thursday, May 30 | 6-7pm (Time for Q&A at the end.)

Presented by Louis Paioletti

Please RSVP to to ensure a place. Seating is limited to 90. Free, but admission donations to the Hershey History Center are appreciated.

This year marks the 87th anniversary of one of the most significant events in Derry Township history, an event which made national headlines.


On April 2, 1937, workers at the Hershey Chocolate Corporation, many who were Italian immigrants and who had recently formed a union, went on strike as a result of, among other factors, very low wages and poor and hostile working conditions. The sit-down strike, poorly coordinated and hastily executed, came to a halt on April 7, when company loyalists, farmers, and paid strikebreakers, allegedly orchestrated by the company, stormed the factory with weapons and brutally beat the workers, ejecting them from the plant while continuing to beat them as they walked through a gauntlet.


Lou most recently presented on this topic as a guest lecturer at a Penn State grad class and will be giving his fascinating and detailed research presentation with newly added material — filled with oral histories, photos, and unique personal stories — at the Hershey History Center on May 30 at 6 pm.


History matters — even the history that’s tough to hear.


Since 1989, Lou has been employed at Phoenix Contact Inc., where he is Senior Director of Supply Chain Services. An adjunct lecturer at Penn State York since 2003, he received the James H. Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching for the 2019-2020 academic year. He has also been a guest presenter and panelist at several supply chain discussion forums and seminar series.
Lou is a member of the Penn State Harrisburg Board of Advisers, where he serves as chair of the faculty research and outreach committee. He is a member of the Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration advisory board and the Penn State Harrisburg Project and Supply Chain Management program advisory board, on which he serves as chair.
In the local community, Lou is serving his fifth consecutive term as Derry Township Tax Collector and is on the Derry Township Downtown Core Design Board. He is also on the board of directors of the Hershey History Center. He has a special interest in local Italian American history and has given detailed presentations on the subject matter. Lou proudly holds dual US-Italian citizenship.

(Click images for full screen.)

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