Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote: Clarence Darrow
“Every intelligent person who has investigated this question understands that working men have the right to organize; understands that if laborers are not satisfied with their conditions, they may stop work; they may stop work singly or collectively, exactly as they please, and no court will say them nay.”

This Week in Labor History
July 10
Mary McLeod Bethune, educator and civil rights activist, born – 1875

Some 14,000 federal and state troops finally succeed in putting down the strike against the Pullman Palace Car Co., which had been peaceful until July 5, when federal troops intervened in Chicago, against the repeated protests of the governor and Chicago’s mayor. A total of 34 American Railway Union members were killed by troops over the course of the strike – 1894

A powerful explosion rips through the Rolling Mill coal mine in Johnstown, Pa., killing 112 miners, 83 of whom were immigrants from Poland and Slovakia – 1902

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce holds a mass meeting of more than 2,000 merchants to organize what was to become a frontal assault on union strength and the closed shop. The failure of wages to keep up with inflation after the 1906 earthquake had spurred multiple strikes in the city – 1916

Sidney Hillman dies at age 59. He led the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, was a key figure in the founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and was a close advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt – 1946

July 11
Striking coal miners in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, dynamite barracks housing Pinkerton management thugs – 1892

After seven years of labor by as many as 2,800 construction workers, the Triborough Bridge opens in New York.  Actually a complex of three bridges, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.  Construction began on Black Friday, 1929, and New Deal money turned it into one of the largest public works projects of the Great Depression – 1936

A nine-year strike begins at the Ohio Crankshaft Division of Park-Ohio Industries in Cleveland. Overcoming scabs, arrests and firings, UAW Local 91 members hung on and approved a contract in 1992 with the company—now under new management—that included company-funded health and retirement benefits, as well as pay increases – 1983

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