Today in Labor History – May 23rd


The first American nursery school was established in New York City as a way to “relieve parents of the laboring classes” and offer their children “protection from idleness” and other evils that typically infected the rabble – 1827

An estimated 100,000 textile workers, including more than 10,000 children, strike in the Philadelphia area.  Among the issues: 60-hour workweeks, including night hours, for the children – 1903

The “Battle of Toledo” erupted when sheriffs’ arrested picket leaders at the Auto-Lite plant in Toledo, Ohio, and beat an old man. 10,000 strikers blockaded the plant for seven hours, preventing strikebreakers from leaving. Ultimately, the crowd was broken up with tear gas and water cannons. The National Guard was called in the following day. The strikers held their ground against the troops, who shot and killed two of their members and wounding 15 others, winning union recognition and a 5% raise after two weeks on the picket line – 1934

U.S. railroad strike starts, later crushed when President Truman threatens to draft strikers – 1946

Congress passed the first law to ensure women equal pay for equal work. The legislation was originally submitted in 1947 – 1963

The Granite Cutters International Association of America merges with Tile, Marble, Terrazzo, Finishers & Shopmen, which five years later merged into the Carpenters – 1983

Labor folk singer and IWW member U. Utah Phillips (1935-2008) died – 2008


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