Today in Labor History – January 3rd

Tom Mooney

The ship Thetis arrives in Hawaii with 175 Chinese field workers bound to serve for five years at $3 per month – 1852

The trial of labor organizer Tom Mooney began in San Francisco on this date. Mooney was framed by Martin Swanson, a detective with a long history of interfering in San Francisco strikes, for the Preparedness Day bombing. Swanson maintained constant surveillance and harassment of Mooney and Warren Billings, as well as Alexander Berkman & Emma Goldman. Billings and Mooney were still convicted and imprisoned for the bombing, with Mooney serving over 22 years for a crime he did not commit.- 1917

In a familiar scene during the Great Depression, some 500 farmers, black and white, their crops ruined by a long drought, march into downtown England, Ark., to demand food for their starving families, warning they would take it by force if necessary. Town fathers frantically contacted the Red Cross; each family went home with two weeks’ rations – 1931

The Supreme Court rules against the closed shop, a labor-management agreement that only union members can be hired and must remain members to continue on the job – 1949

AFL-CIO American Institute for Free Labor Development employees Mike Hammer and Mark Pearlman are assassinatedin El Salvador along with a Peasant Workers’ Union leader with whom they were working on a land reform program – 1981

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