Today in Labor History – September 22nd

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Emancipation Proclamation signed – 1862

Eighteen-year-old Hannah (Annie) Shapiro leads a spontaneous walkout of 17 women at a Hart Schaffner & Marx garment factory in Chicago. It grows into a months-long mass strike involving 40,000 garment workers across the city, protesting 10-hour days, bullying bosses and cuts in already-low wages – 1910

Great Steel Strike begins; Almost 400,000 steelworkers in 50 cities struck to protest intolerable working conditions. Union leaders believed that if they could organizer the steel workers, it would lead to a massive wave of unionization across the country. Thus began the Great Steel Strike of 1919. The bosses called upon the federal troops and crushed the strike after 3½ months, killing twenty-two people in the process– 1919

Martial law rescinded in Mingo County, W. Va., after police, U.S. troops and hired goons finally quell coal miners’ strike – 1922

U.S. Steel announces it will cut the wages of 220,000 workers by 10 percent – 1931

The United Textile Workers (UTW) strike committee ordered strikers back to work, bring to an end “the greatest single industrial conflict in the history of American organized labor.” However, the Southern employers continued to try to bust the textile unions and their ongoing agitation occurring along the Eastern seaboard. 10,000 National Guardsmen were mobilized in Georgia and the Carolinas, Alabama, & Mississippi, with an additional army of 15,000 armed deputies. Despite the overwhelming show of force, it is estimated that 421,000 textile workers had joined the strike, an increase of 20,000 new strikers in just one week. In response, martial law was declared in Georgia and the National Guardsmen started to arrest and jail large numbers of strikers without charge, holding them in World War I concentration camps. 13 strikers were killed and 34 strike leaders were held incommunicado – 1934

Some 400,000 coal miners strike for higher wages in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois and Ohio – 1935

The AFL expels the Int’l Longshoremen’s Association for racketeering; the union was readmitted to the then-AFL-CIO six years later – 1953

Eleven Domino’s employees in Pensacola, Fla., form the nation’s first union of pizza delivery drivers – 2006

San Francisco hotel workers end a 2-year contract fight, ratify a new 5-year pact with their employers – 2006

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