Today in Labor History – August 23rd


Folk and protest singer Malvina Reynolds was born in San Francisco, California. Reynolds was denied a diploma by the city’s elite Lowell High School because her parents were opposed to US participation in World War I. She was perhaps best know for her satire of suburbia, “Little Boxes” which was most likely inspired by the tacky sprawl of house in Daly City, just outside of San Francisco – 1900

IWW strikers boarded a streetcar in McKees Rock, Pennsylvania looking for scabs. A deputy sheriff shot at them and was killed in the return fire. A gun battle ensued that killed 11 people – 1909

The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations is formed by Congress, during a period of great labor and social unrest. After three years, and hearing witnesses ranging from Wobblies to capitalists, it issued an 11-volume report frequently critical of capitalism.The New York Herald characterized the Commission’s president, Frank P. Walsh, as “a Mother Jones in trousers” – 1912

Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, accused of murder and tried unfairly, were executed on this day. The case became an international cause and sparked demonstrations and strikes throughout the world – 1927

Vigilantes assaulted 200 migrant workers in Yakima, Washington – 1933

Seven merchant seamen crewing the SS Baton Rouge Victory lost their lives en route to Saigon when the ship was sunk by Viet Cong action – 1966

Farm Workers Organizing Committee (to later become United Farm Workers of America) granted a charter by the AFL-CIO – 1966

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