TSOTM Dec 2023: Space Struggle

TSOTM Dec 2023: Space Struggle

Regular price
Sale price
Unit price

Our T-Shirt of the Month for December 2023, made of 100% organic cotton by a worker-owned co-operative, and supporting grassroots labour unions in South Asia.

It is dedicated to what has been described as the first "strike in space". In December 1973, the workers on the Skylab 4 space station had been set a punishing schedule, and mission commander Jerry Carr had argued that "We would never work 16 hours a day for 84 straight days on the ground, and we should not be expected to do it here in space.” Pilot William Pogue complained that they were so overworked "There is no way [they could] do a professional job", and for their first month they had to work through their days off. Carr eventually sent a wire stating: "We need more time to rest. We need a schedule that is not so packed.” Pogue said they wanted to have more time for "studying the stars, the Earth below, and ourselves". Ground control began describing the crew as "lethargic and negative". 

In late December the crew reportedly lost radio contact with mission control for a period of time. Science pilot Edward Gibson described this as an accident, while Carr told the New York Times in an interview that they deliberately took time off: 

"We looked out the window, took showers, and did that sort of thing… We said, 'We want time off to mess around and do anything we want'". 

Subsequently, on December 30, negotiations took place and bosses agreed for the astronauts to get more time off, and be able to schedule tasks themselves rather then be micromanaged. Carr later reported that the new arrangement "worked beautifully", and still enabled them to finish all of their experiments.

Numerous sources including a Harvard study and the Times describe what happened as a strike, which NASA denies. But either way, it is indisputable that there was conflict on the trip between workers and management, and that while initially ground control were content to ignore complaints by the crew, soon after the reported loss of radio contact they arranged a meeting and met the demands of the astronauts.

Since the quote from mission commander Jerry Carr captures so well what we all feel at some point in our (working) lives, we asked the great illustrator, graphic designer and musician Chris W. Jany to use that quote in his take of that beautiful story from out of space. When was the last time you took time off to mess around and do any anything you want?

  • 100% organic cotton, single jersey, 160 g/m², 0% elastane in fabric
  • High-quality water-based print: environmentally and skin-friendly ink certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard
  • Unisex fit sizes: S - M - L - XL - 2XL – 3XL - 4XL - 5XL
  • Made with dignity by the worker-owned Humana Nova cooperative
  • Supports grassroots labour unions in South Asia through ExChains
  • Learn more about our 'T-Shirt of the Month' collaboration with dna merch here
  • Printed individually just for you, with no overproduction or waste
  • Global shipping, from France

Please make sure to carefully choose your size by checking the size chart below.

Width: Measured 2cm (1in) beneath the sleeves across the shirt
Length: Measured from the highest point of the shoulder to the bottom end of the shirt

  S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
Width (in) 19 21 22 24 25.5 26.5 27.5 33.0
Length (in) 28 29 30 31 31.5 32 29.0 33.5
Width (cm) 48 53 56 60.5 64.5 68 70 84
Length (cm) 71 74 76.5 79 80.5 82  74.5 85

When will I receive my t-shirt?

Printing of each T-Shirt of the Month will take approximately one week after being ordered. The shirts will then be shipped from France, and delivery should take up to one week for Europe, and up to 2 weeks for the rest of the world.
In the unlikely event that shirts from Humana Nova are out of stock, design will instead be printed on an organic t-shirt from fairwear foundation leader Stanley & Stella instead.