At the beginning of the 20th century, furniture factories dominated the physical and economic landscape of Grand Rapids. More than 60 factories employed more than 5000 workers making it truly the "furniture capital" of the nation. It began on April 19th and eventually included over 7,000 furniture craftsmen and laborers who walked out of 59 factories. The workers started asking for a nine-hour day, a 10% raise commensurate with the rise in the cost of living, the abolition of pay based on piece work, and the recognition of the right of the unions to bargain collectively with the factory owners. Factory owners refused to make concessions to any of the demands. The strike lasted four months, through the hot summer of 1911, bringing much of the city to a standstill. Employers fought back with strikebreakers and legal maneuvers to prevent mass pickets, but the workers were assisted by national unions of carpenters, painters, woodcarvers and upholsterers and remained on strike through August. However, in early August, the national unions were running out of money and they had to severely reduce the already small $5 that workers received in strike pay each week. A second blow was delivered when Christian Reformed Church leaders issued an edict forbidding their members to belong to unions. Faced with deep economic deprivation and with a split in their ranks, workers began to return to work. The last remaining strikers voted to end the walkout on August 19.