Today in Labor History – February 17th


 “Big Bill” Haywood and two others were arrested (kidnapped) for the murder of former Idaho Governor Frank Stuenenberg. Clarence Darrow successfully defended them, telling jurors, “If at the behest of this mob you should kill Bill Haywood, he is mortal, he will die, but I want to say that a million men will grab up the banner of labor where at the open grave Haywood lays it down . . .” – 1906

 Florence Kelley (b.1859) died on this date. Kelley was a social and political reformer who worked against sweatshops and fought for the minimum wage, eight-hour workdays and children’s rights – 1932

63 sit-down strikers, demanding recognition of their union, are tear gassed and driven from two Fansteel Metallurgical Corp. plants in Chicago. Two years later the U.S. Supreme Court declared sit-down strikes illegal. The tactic had been a major industrial union organizing tool – 1937

Unions at Yale University strike in solidarity with teaching assistants – 1992

A 3-day UAW wildcat strike began at the Chrysler truck plant in Warren, Michigan – 1996

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