Today in Labor History – February 3rd

115MotherSpeaksThe US Supreme Court rules the United Hatters Union violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by organizing a nationwide boycott of Danbury Hatters of Connecticut – 1908

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones addressed Milwaukee brewery workers during a two-month stint working alongside women bottle-washers while on leave from the United Mine Workers:”Condemned to slave daily in the wash-room in wet shoes and wet clothes, surrounded with foul-mouthed, brutal foremen . . . the poor girls work in the vile smell of sour beer, lifting cases of empty and full bottles weighing from 100 to 150 pounds, in their wet shoes and rags, for they cannot buy clothes on the pittance doled out to them. . . . Rheumatism is one of the chronic ailments and is closely followed by consumption . . . An illustration of what these girls must submit to, one about to become a mother told me with tears in her eyes that every other day a depraved specimen of mankind took delight in measuring her girth & passing comments.” – 1910


32,000 textile mill workers were actively involved in the “Bread & Roses” strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The strike began last month and continued for over nine weeks. Several strikers were killed by cops and goons. Annie Welzenbach and her two teenage sisters were dragged from their beds in the middle of the night. 200 police attacked striking women with their clubs – 1912
 U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Wages and Hours (later Fair Labor Standards) Act banning child labor and establishing the 40-hour work week – 1941

An explosion at a Thiokol chemical plant near Woodbine, Georgia kills 29 workers, seriously injures 50.  An investigation found that contributing factors to the explosion were mislabeled chemicals, poor storage procedures and insufficient fire protection – 1971

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