This week in labor history: October 28-November 3

0
172

OCTOBER 28
1965 – The St. Louis Gateway Arch is completed after two and one-half years. The 630-foot high arch of stainless steel marks the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Mo. Although it was predicted 13 lives would be lost in construction, not a single worker died.

OCTOBER 29
1889 – Japanese immigrant and labor advocate Katsu Goto is strangled to death, his body then strung from an electric pole, on the Big Island of Hawaii by thugs hired by plantation owners. They were outraged over Goto’s work on behalf of agricultural workers and because he opened a general store that competed with the owners’ own company store.
1929 – “Black Tuesday” – Wall Street crashes, throwing the world’s economy into a years-long crisis including an unemployment rate in the U.S. that by 1933 hit nearly 25 percent.

OCTOBER 30
1986 – Ed Meese, attorney general in the Ronald Reagan administration, urges employers to begin spying on workers “in locker rooms, parking lots, shipping and mail room areas and even the nearby taverns” to try to catch them using drugs.

OCTOBER 31
1829 – George Henry Evans publishes the first issue of the Working Man’s Advocate, “edited by a Mechanic” for the “useful and industrious classes” in New York City. He focused on the inequities between the “portion of society living in luxury and idleness” and those “groaning under the oppressions and miseries imposed on them.”
1891 – Tennessee sends in leased convict laborers to break a coal miners strike in Anderson County. The miners revolted, burned the stockades, and sent the captured convicts by train back to Knoxville.
1941 – After 14 years of labor by 400 stone masons, the Mt. Rushmore sculpture is completed in Keystone, S.D.
NOVEMBER 1
1835 – In the nation’s first general strike for a 10-hour day, 300 armed Irish longshoremen march through the streets of Philadelphia calling on other workers to join them. Some 20,000 did, from clerks to bricklayers to city employees and other occupations. The city announced a 10-hour workday within the week; private employers followed suit three weeks later.
1887 – Thirty-seven Black striking Louisiana sugar workers are murdered when Louisiana militia, aided by bands of “prominent citizens,” shoot unarmed workers trying to get a dollar-per-day wage. Two strike leaders are lynched.
1918 – Malbone tunnel disaster in New York City; inexperienced scab motorman crashes five-car train during strike, 97 killed, 255 injured.
1919 – Some 400,000 soft coal miners strike for higher wages and shorter hours.
1979 – The UAW begins what was to become a successful 172-day strike against International Harvester. The union turned back company demands for weakened work rules, mandatory overtime.

NOVEMBER 2
1920 – Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs receives nearly a million votes for president while imprisoned for opposing World War I.
1989 – Carmen Fasanella retires after 68 years and 243 days of taxicab service in Princeton, N.J., earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. He started driving at age 17 and, reportedly, chauffeured Princeton Professor Albert Einstein around town.

NOVEMBER 3
1921 – Striking milk drivers dump thousands of gallons of milk on New York City streets.
2009 – Some 5,000 Philadelphia-area public transit workers begin what was to be a six-day strike centered on wages and pension benefits.

(Labor History is provided by Union Communications Services, since 1981 North America’s premier publisher and distributor of newsletters, leadership training programs for shop stewards and officers, website materials and other powerful use-it-today strategies and tools to help leaders and activists build union power. Reach them at unionist.com.)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here