Today in Labor History – February 17th

labor history february 17

Florence Kelley

“Big Bill” Haywood and two others were arrested (kidnapped) for the murder of former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg. Clarence Darrow successfully defended them, telling jurors, “If at the behest of this mob you should kill Bill Haywood, he is mortal, he will die, but I want to say that a million men will grab up the banner of labor where at the open grave Haywood lays it down . . .”  – 1906

Florence Kelley (born 1859) died on this date. Kelley was a social and political reformer who worked against sweatshops and fought for the minimum wage, eight-hour workdays and children’s rights. – 1932

Demanding recognition of their union, 63 sit-down strikers, were tear gassed and driven from two Fansteel Metallurgical Corporation plants in Chicago. Two years later the U.S. Supreme Court declared sit-down strikes illegal. The tactic had been a major industrial union organizing tool. – 1937

Members of unions representing clerical, technical, maintenance, cafeteria workers, and others joined graduate students, represented by the Graduate Employees and Students Organization,  on strike at Yale University over low teaching wages, lack of representation, and other problems with the administration. – 1992

A 3-day UAW wildcat strike began at the Chrysler truck plant in Warren, Michigan. – 1996

Florence Kelley and the Children: Factory Inspector in 1890s Chicago

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