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

Presented by Louis Paioletti on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 7:00 pm. Please RSVP to to ensure a place. Seating is limited to 90. Free, but admission donations to the Hershey History Center are appreciated.


The April 1937 sit-down strike by workers at the Hershey Chocolate Corporation was one of the most significant events -- if not the most significant -- in our township’s history. As the first-known confectionery company sit-down strike in the nation, and the first sit-down strike in PA, it encompassed traditional labor issues, discrimination, radicalism, ensuing violence, and deep division. Local Italian American history enthusiast Lou Paioletti will give a unique perspective of the widely unknown details of this event, factors that led to it, and its impacts on the company and community. The presentation will be from a neutral viewpoint and will contain special focus on the political and cultural ideology of the Italian immigrant community and its role in the local and national labor movements.


Since 1989, Lou has been employed at Phoenix Contact Inc., a global leader in the development and manufacturing of industrial electronics and controls, as well as comprehensive automation solutions. He currently serves as Director of Supply Chain Services where he oversees the company’s materials planning and supply chain management functions.


Lou holds a BS in Marketing from Penn State Harrisburg and an MBA from Temple University.  He is on the board of advisers of Penn State Harrisburg, where he serves as vice-chair of the faculty research and outreach committee, and is the chair of the School of Business Administration’s Project and Supply Chain Management program advisory board.


Lou is serving his fifth consecutive term as Derry Township Tax Collector and is on the board of directors of the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society. He has a special interest in local Italian American history, and proudly holds dual US-Italian citizenship.

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