This Week In Labor History September 4-10

1894 Twelve thousand New York tailors strike over sweatshop conditions.
1949 More than 140 attendees at a benefit for a civil rights group are injured in the “Peekskill Riots” in Peekskill, N.Y. The victims were among the 20,000 people leaving a concert featuring African-American Paul Robeson, well-known for his strong pro-unionism, civil rights activism and left-wing affiliations.
1991 In what many believe was to become the longest strike in U.S. history, 600 Teamster-represented workers walk out at the Diamond Walnut processing plant in Stockton, Calif., after the company refused to restore a 30-percent pay cut they had earlier taken to help out the company.

1882 Between 20,000 and 30,000 marchers participate in New York’s first Labor Day parade, demanding the eight-hour day.
1934 Ten thousand angry textile strikers, fighting for better wages and working conditions, besiege a factory in Fall River, Mass., where 300 strikebreakers are working. The scabs are rescued by police using tear gas and pistols on the strikers.
1946 General strike begins across U.S. maritime industry, stopping all shipping. The strikers were objecting to the government’s post-war National Wage Stabilization Board order that reduced pay increases negotiated by maritime unions.

1869 One of the worst disasters in the history of U.S. anthracite mining occurred at the Avondale Mine, near Scranton, Pa., when a fire originating from a furnace at the bottom of a 237-foot shaft roared up the shaft, killing 110 miners.
1973 Tony Boyle, former president of the United Mine Workers, is charged with murder in the 1969 deaths of former UMW rival Joseph A. Yablonski and his wife and daughter.

1916 Federal employees win the right to receive Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage.

1909 Employers give in to the demands of thousands of Wobblies-led striking railroad car production workers in McKees Rocks, Pa., agree to improved working conditions, 15 percent hike in wages and elimination of a “pool system” that gave foremen control over each worker’s pay.
1965 United Farm Workers union begins historic national grape boycott and strike, Delano, Calif.

1919 More than a thousand Boston police officers strike after 19 union leaders are fired for organizing activities. Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge announced that none of the strikers would be rehired, mobilized the state police, and recruited an entirely new police force from among unemployed veterans of the Great War (World War I).
1924 Sixteen striking Filipino sugar workers on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are killed by police; four police died as well. Many of the surviving strikers were jailed, then deported.
1973 United Auto Workers President Leonard Woodcock is named in President Richard Nixon’s “Enemy’s List,” a White House compilation of Americans Nixon regarded as major political opponents. Another dozen union presidents were added later. The existence of the list was revealed during Senate Watergate Committee hearings.

1897 In Pennsylvania, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovak miners are gunned down by the Lattimer Mine’s sheriff deputies — 19 dead, more than 50 wounded — during a peaceful march from Hazelton to Lattimer. Some 3,000 were marching for collective bargaining and civil liberty. The shooters were tried for murder but the jury failed to convict.

(Compiled by David Prosten, founder Union Communication Services)

One Comment

  • Cops are not part of the working class. They’re class traitors who are used to squash any and all unionizing or organizing. The violent arm of the state needs to be dismantled if workers ever plan to be more than an exploited proletariat.


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