Today in Labor History – August 31st


John Reed forms the Communist Labor Party in Chicago.  The Party’s motto: “Workers of the world, unite!” – 1919

Some 10,000 striking miners began a fight at Blair Mountain, W.Va., for recognition of their union, the United Mine Workers of America. Federal troops were sent in, and miners were forced to withdraw five days later, after 16 deaths – 1921

The Trade Union Unity League was founded by 690 delegates from 18 states fleeing the conservative American Federation of Labor. The League, a wing of the Communist Party, pushed for organizing workers along industrial lines, rather than by craft, like the AFL, with all workers in a given industry together in one big union. At its peak, the League had 125,000 members and, in 1930, led a protest of nearly a million jobless workers in a dozen cities to demand relief and unemployment insurance. The league fell apart in the late 1930s due to competition from the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), which had launched a wave of successful organizing drives – 1929

Italian American labor organizer, Giovanni Pippan was murdered during his campaign to organize the Italian bread wagon drivers of Chicago – 1933

Nearly all 430 workers at the California Sanitary Canning Company participated in a massive walkout. The majority of the workers were Mexican-American women. They were demand union recognition for their affiliation with the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, & Allied Workers of America (UCAPAWA). They eventually won a union contract and wage increase – 1939

Solidarity” workers movement founded as a strike coordination committee at Lenin Shipyards, Gdansk, Poland. The strike launched a wave of unrest in the Soviet Union that ultimately led to its dissolution in 1991 – 1980

An estimated 325,000 unionists gathered in Washington, D.C., for a Solidarity Day march and rally for workplace fairness and healthcare reform – 1991

Detroit teachers begin what is to become a 9-day strike, winning smaller class sizes and raises of up to 4 percent – 1999

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2 thoughts on “Today in Labor History – August 31st

  1. Hello, can you tell me the source of this Blair Mountain Photo, please? Is a higher resolution copy available?

    • Hi Mary, You can do a simple search on Google for Blair Mountain battle the check the image tag. Many web sites have this photo, as well as others. I would not though count on getting anything of much better quality due to the dates it was taken, and the fact the web usually does not have the highest quality. I do remember there is a museum for the battle and they may have original sources, but I don’t know this for sure.


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