Today in Labor History – August 25th

Allen Pinkerton was born on this day, founder of the Pinkerton private police force, whose strike breaking detectives (Pinkertons, or ‘Pinks’) gave us the word ‘fink’ as they slaughtered dozens of workers in various labor struggles. – 1819

West Virginia Governor Ephraim Morgan asked President Warren Harding for Federal troops and military aircraft to suppress the United Mine Workers’ militant actions. – 1921

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was founded at a meeting in New York City.  A. Philip Randolph became the union’s first organizer. – 1925

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters signed its first contract with Pullman. – 1937

President Harry Truman ordered the U.S. Army to seize all the nation’s railroads. The motivation was simple: the railroad unions had been threatening a strike that could lead to a shutdown. Truman instead took control in order to keep the railroad running and to force the unions to accede. It was an unexpected action from a strongly business-minded president, especially giving the circumstances surrounding the strike.The railroads were kept under federal control for two years. – 1950

The Battle of Lincoln Park occurred during the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Roughly 10,000 demonstrators battled approximately 11,000 riot police, 6,000 National Guardsmen, 7,500 US army troops and 1,000 FBI, CIA & Army/Navy intelligence services agents. – 1968

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