Today in Labor History – January 14th

brooklyn-trolly-strike-cover-sb 1895 Harpers

A Brooklyn trolley strike began on this date (lasting until Feb. 28). The militia was called out and martial law declared in order to suppress it. Members of the Knights of Labor battled militiamen in the streets – 1895

The trial of Suhr and Ford began on this date in Marysville, California. Suhr and Ford were IWW (Wobbly) organizers who were ultimately convicted for their alleged role in the gun battle at Durst Ranch in Wheatland – 1914

Joe Hill was arrested on this date in Salt Lake City and later convicted on trumped up murder charges. He was executed 21 months later despite worldwide protests and two attempts to intervene by President Woodrow Wilson. In a letter to Bill Haywood shortly before his death he penned the famous words, “Don’t mourn – organize!” – 1915

A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters called for a March on Washington to demand racial integration of the military and equal access to defense-industry jobs – 1941

Clinton-era OSHA issues confined spaces standard to prevent more than 50 deaths and 5,000 serious injuries annually for workers who enter confined spaces – 1993

Pennsylvania Superior Court rules bosses can fire workers for being gay – 1995

Some 14,000 General Electric employees strike for two days to protest the company’s mid-contract decision to shift an average of $400 in additional health care co-payments onto each worker – 2003

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