Today in Labor History – July 4th


Albert Parsons, who was later wrongly executed as one of the Haymarket martyrs, joined the Knights of Labor on this date. He later became the president of the Trades Assembly of Chicago, ran for County Clerk, and became the first workingman nominated by workingmen to run for President of the United States – 1876

AFL dedicates its new Washington, D.C. headquarters building at 9th St. and Massachusetts Ave. NW. The building, still standing, later became headquarters for the Plumbers and Pipefitters – 1916

Five newspaper boys from the Baltimore Evening Sun died when the steamer they were on, the Three Rivers, caught fire near Baltimore, Md.  They are remembered every year at a West Baltimore cemetery, toasted by former staffers of the now-closed newspaper – 1924

With the Great Depression underway, some 1,320 delegates attended the founding convention of the Unemployed Councils of the U.S.A., organized by the U.S. Communist Party.  They demanded passage of unemployment insurance and maternity benefit laws and opposed discrimination by race or sex – 1930

In a show of support for independence and freedom, The American Federation of Musician’s Board of Delegates adopted a resolution to fight the “communist menace” within the US Labor movement. In particular, they were concerned about “Certain communistic influences within [San Francisco’s] Local Six have been,” as well as locals in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and Los Angeles.” – 1938

Two primary conventions of the United Nations’ International Labor Organization come into force: Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize – 1950

Building trades workerslay the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City. The WTC had been leveled by a terrorist attack three years earlier. Nearly 3,000 died at the WTC and in other attacks that same day – 2004


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