Today in Labor History – January 12th

coxs_army

Cox’s Army

Novelist Jack London is born. His classic definition of a scab — someone who would cross a picket line and take a striker’s job: “After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles” – 1876

Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson orders police to raid an open-air mass meeting of shipyard workers in an attempt to prevent a general strike. Workers were brutally beaten. The strike began the following month, with 60,000 workers walking out in solidarity with some 25,000 metal tradesmen – 1919

12,000 marchers from Father Cox’s Shantytown in Pittsburgh arrived in Washington, D.C. The shantytown, near St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, lasted from 1929 to 1932, and was the staging base for the Reverend James Cox’s unemployed army. On December 1931, 60,000 unemployed workers had rallied at Pitt Stadium in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh

Pres. Roosevelt creates the National War Labor Board to mediate labor disputes during World War II. Despite the fact that 12 million of the nation’s workers were women — to rise to 18 million by war’s end — the panel consisted entirely of men – 1942

President John F. Kennedy signs Executive Order 10988, guaranteeing federal workers the right to join unions and bargain collectively – 1962

 

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