The first national prison labor strike in US history launched on September 9. Billed as a "Call to Action Against Slavery in America," the spark for the action came from the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), a prison-based organization that has been mobilizing across the state since 2012. Alabama has one of the most overcrowded prison systems in the country.

Reports from FAM's base within Holman Prison indicated a universal refusal of the population to go to work on September 9. Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, the chief outside spokesperson for FAM, speaking to Truthout on the day of the launch, said significant strike action also took place within prisons in South Carolina, Virginia and Ohio.

"These men have gone beyond religious barriers and race barriers and most of all, incarceration barriers," Glasgow told Truthout. By Wednesday evening, the Incarcerated Workers' Organizing Committee (IWOC) estimated that 15,310 people in prisons were on lockdown in facilities where organizing or strikes had been confirmed.

Several actions related to the strike have gained considerable attention. The night before the national action, some 400 men in Florida's Holmes prison staged a rebellion that lasted most of Thursday night. By Monday, collective resistance had spread to five Florida prisons, including civil disobedience by 40 men in Columbia Correctional Institution in Lake City and a two-day work stoppage at nearby Mayo. In Northern Michigan's Kinross Correctional Facility, the men took a more low-key approach, with about 400 incarcerated individuals staging a demonstration inside the gates. Immediately after the action, 150 of them were put on buses and sent to other institutions.

Political prisoner Chelsea Manning also began a hunger strike on Saturday, September 10, apparently timed to coincide with the national actions. By Wednesday morning she had reportedly won her demand for gender-affirming surgery.