Some 10,000 clothing workers strike in Rochester, N.Y., for the 8-hour day, a 10 percent wage increase, union recognition, and extra pay for overtime and holidays. Daily parades were held throughout the clothing district and there was at least one instance of mounted police charging the crowd of strikers and arresting 25 picketers. Six people were wounded over the course of the strike and one worker, 18-year-old Ida Breiman, was shot to death by a sweatshop contractor. The strike was called off in April after manufacturers agreed not to discriminate against workers for joining a union – 1913
Joe Hill’s song “Mr. Block” first appeared in the Wobbly newspaper the – 1913
Mr. Block (by Joe Hill)
Please give me your attention, I’ll introduce to you
A man who is a credit to the [“Our] old Red White and Blue[“]
His head is made of lumber and solid as a rock
He is a common worker and his name is Mr. Block
And Block [he] thinks he may be premier [President] some day
Oh Mr. Block, you were born by mistake
You take the cake, you make me ache
[Go] tie a rock on your block and then jump in the lake
Kindly do that for Liberty’s sake!
Yes, Mr. Block is lucky – he got a job, by gee!
The shark got seven dollars for job and fare and fee
They shipped him to a desert and dumped him with his truck
But when he tried to find his job he sure was out of luck
He shouted, “That’s too raw! I’ll fix them with the law!”
Block hiked back to the city but wasn’t doing well
He said “I’ll join the union, the great AF of L”.
He got a job that morning, got fired by the night
He said, “I’ll see Sam Gompers and he’ll fix that foreman right!”
Sam Gompers said, “You see, you’ve got our sympathy.”
Election day he shouted, “A Socialist for Mayor!”
The comrade got elected [and] he happy was for fair
But after the election he got an awful shock
[When] a great big socialistic bull did rap him on the block
And Comrade Block did sob, “I helped him get his job!”
Poor Block he died one evening, I’m very glad to state
He climbed the golden ladder up to the pearly gate
He said, “Oh Mister Peter, one thing I’d like to tell
I’d like to meet the Astorbilts and John D Rockerfell!”
Old Pete said, “Is that so? You’ll meet them down below!”
Tune: It Looks to me Like a Big Time Tonight.