Today in Labor History – February 27th

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Legendary labor leader and socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs becomes charter member and secretary of the Vigo Lodge, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. Five years later he is leading the national union and in 1893 helps found the nation’s first industrial union, the American Railway Union – 1875

John Steinbeck was born on this date in Salinas, California. Steinbeck, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962, wrote numerous novels from the perspective of farmers and the working class, including The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Tortilla Flats, Of Mice and Men,Cannery Row & East of Eden – 1902

Thirty-eight miners die in a coal mine explosion in Boissevain, Va. – 1932

450 Woolworth’s workers and customers occupy store for eight days in support of Waiters and Waitresses Union, Detroit – 1937

The Supreme Court rules that sit-down strikes, a major organizing tool for industrial unions, are illegal – 1939

Mine disaster kills 75 at Red Lodge, Mont. – 1943

Seattle ACORN workers went on strike. Their office shut was down after their employer refused to recognize Public Interest Workers IU 670 union of the IWW – 2001

 

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