Today in Labor History – September 12th

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Eugene V. Debs, labor leader and socialist, sentenced to 10 years for opposing World War I. While in jail Debs receivedone million votes for president – 1918

Unemployed people marched on grocery stores and seized food from shops in Toledo, Ohio. Many unemployed workers were near starvation after county authorities cut off relief. Across the country starving people were taking direct action instead of waiting for government help – 1932

United Rubber Workers formed in Akron, Ohio – 1935

A total of 49 people are killed (some reports cite 51 killed), 200 injured, in explosion at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Kenvil, N.J. – 1940

Union Square in New York City was named a national historic landmark, with a plaque commemorating it as the site of the first Labor Day in 1882. Samuel Gompers spoke there in 1886 on May Day and the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) demonstrated frequently during the economic depression of 1914-15 – 1998

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