Today in Labor History – April 6th

labor history april 6

Rose Schneiderman speaking at a Union meeting

Just north of Wall Street, New York City saw its first slave revolt in response to the execution of twenty-one blacks for killing nine whites. Conditions were ideal for a revolt, as black slaves and freemen worked in proximity to each other, making communication and planning easier. In the aftermath of the revolt, seventy black men were jailed, with six “committing suicide” in custody. Twenty of those arrested were executed by burning and one was executed on the “breaking wheel”. New regulations were also put into place, prohibiting black men from meeting in groups larger than three or carrying firearms. Free men were also denied the right to own properties. – 1712

Rose Schneiderman, prominent member of the New York Women’s Trade Union League, was born on this date. She was an active participant in the Uprising of the 20,000, the massive strike of shirtwaist workers in New York City led by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union in 1909, and famous for an angry speech about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.  “Every week I must learn of the untimely death of one of my sister workers…Too much blood has been spilled. I know from my experience it is up to the working people to save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement”. – 1882

Teamsters in Chicago began a sympathy strike in support of locked out Montgomery Ward & Co. workers who were on strike to protest the company’s use of nonunion subcontractors. When other businesses rallied to the company’s defense, the dispute spread quickly. Workers battled strikebreakers, police and scabs for 105 days; 21 people died. – 1905

What was to become a two-month strike by minor league umpires began, largely over money: $5,500 to $15,000 for a season running 142 games. The strike ended with a slight improvement in pay. – 2006

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