Today in Labor History – March 23rd

101 Wobblies (members of the Industrial Workers of the World, IWW) went on trial in Chicago for opposing World War I. They were tried for violating the Espionage Act. In September 1917, 165 IWW leaders were arrested for conspiring to subvert the draft and encourage desertion. Their trial lasted five months, the longest criminal trial […]

Today in Labor History – March 22nd

Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, gave a speech entitled, Knights of Labor: The New Dynasty. In the speech, he commended the Knights’ commitment to fair treatment of all workers, regardless of race or gender. “When all the bricklayers, and all the machinists, and all the miners, and blacksmiths, and printers, and stevedores, and house painters, and […]

Today in Labor History – March 21st

Women’s rights advocate and labor activist Alice Henry was born in Melbourne, Australia. Henry came to the U.S. in 1905 and worked for twenty years for the National Women’s Trade Union League of America in Chicago, lecturing, organizing, directing the education department, writing two books on women in the labor movement, and editing the League’s […]

Today in Labor History – March 20th

Michigan authorized the formation of workers’ cooperatives. Thirteen were formed in the state over a 25-year period. Labor reform organizations advocated for  “cooperation” over “competitive” capitalism following the Civil War and several thousand cooperatives opened for business across the country during this era. Participants envisioned a world free from conflict where workers would receive the […]

Today in Labor History – March 19th

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Adamson Act, a federal law that established an 8-hour workday, with overtime pay, for interstate railway workers. Congress passed the law in 1916 to avert a nationwide rail strike. – 1917 During the Great Depression, 1,100 men standing in a breadline in New York City seized […]

Today in Labor History – March 18th

Mexican anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón was arrested under the Espionage Act, charged with hindering the American war effort, and imprisoned at Leavenworth, where he died under highly suspicious circumstances. The authorities claimed he died of a “heart attack”, but Chicano inmates rioted after his death and killed the prison guard they believed killed Magon. – […]