Labor History

September 24
Canada declares the Wobblies illegal – 1918

September 25
American photographer Lewis Hine born in Oshkosh, Wisc. – 1874
(Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine–who himself died in poverty in 1940–did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)

Two African-American sharecroppers are killed during an ultimately unsuccessful cotton-pickers’ strike in Lee County, Ark.  By the time the strike had been suppressed, 15 African-Americans had died and another six had been imprisoned.  A white plantation manager was killed as well – 1891

September 26
The Old 97, a Southern Railway train officially known as the Fast Mail, derails near Danville, Va., killing engineer Joseph “Steve” Broady and ten other railroad and postal workers.  Many believe Broady had been ordered to speed to make up for lost time.  The Wreck of the Old 97 inspired balladeers; a 1924 recording is sometimes cited as the first million-selling country music record – 1903

The first production Ford Model T leaves the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Mich. It was the first car ever manufactured on an assembly line, with interchangeable parts. The auto industry was to become a major U.S. employer, accounting for as many as one of every eight to 10 jobs in the country – 1908

September 27
Striking textile workers in Fall River, Mass., demand bread for their starving children – 1875

The Int’l Typographical Union renews a strike against the Los Angeles Times; a boycott runs intermittently from 1896 to 1908. A local anti-Times committee in 1903 persuades William Randolph Hearst to start a rival paper, the Los Angeles Examiner. Although the ITU kept up the fight into the 1920s, the Times remained totally nonunion until 2009, when the GCIU—now the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamsters—organized the pressroom – 1893

Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union begins strike against Triangle Shirtwaist Co. This would become the “Uprising of the 20,000,” resulting in 339 of 352 struck firms—but not Triangle—signing agreements with the union. The Triangle fire that killed 246 would occur less than two years later – 1909
Twenty-nine west coast ports lock out 10,500 workers in response to what management says is a worker slowdown in the midst of negotiations on a new contract. The ports are closed for 10 days, reopen when President George W. Bush invokes the Taft-Hartley Act – 2002

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