Today in Labor History – June 2nd

Palmer Disciplining Labor

Twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia stage the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay – 1786

The IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) Mesabi Iron Range strike began in Minnesota. The Western Federation of Miners (WFM), which organized the 1907 Mesabi Range Strike, was uninterested in organizing miners in 1916, leaving a vacuum that the much more radical IWW gladly filled. The Wobblies sent many of their top organizers to help and succeeded in recruiting many of the people who served as strikebreakers in 1907 to join the current strike. Carlos Tresca, an IWW leader, was arrested for murder in conjunction with the strike, but was released without trial. Tresca went on to oppose Mussolini and the fascists, as well as the Stalinists in the USSR. He was assassinated in 1943. The Mesabi Strike was suppressed violently by police and vigilantes, with numerous strikers being jailed. The struggle was a precursor to the infamous labor deportations, in Bisbee, Arizona in July, 1917, in which 1,300 Wobblies, their supporters, and even innocent bystanders, were rounded up, forced into cattle cars, and dumped in the desert after 16 hours without food or water – 1916

A constitutional amendment declaring that “Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age” was approved by the Senate today, following the lead of the House five weeks earlier. But only 28 state legislatures ever ratified the amendment — the last three in 1937 — so it has never taken effect – 1924

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal for President Truman to have the Army seize the nation’s steel mills to prevent a strike.600,000 CIO steelworkers immediately began a 53-day strike – 1952

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and Textile Workers Union of America merge to form Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union – 1976


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