Today in Labor History – November 1st

Today labor history november 1

Workers in Philadelphia organized a successful general strike for a 10-hour workday. Three hundred armed Irish longshoremen marched through the streets calling workers to join them on strike. 20,000 leather workers, printers, carpenters, bricklayers, masons, city employees, bakers, clerks, and painters joined in. Within a week, the city government announced a 10-hour workday for its employees and three weeks later, private employers followed suit. – 1835

Sugar cane workers in southeastern Louisiana went on strike over wages and being paid in company scrip. The state militia was called in to break the strike of nearly 10,000 mostly African-American workers, displacing them from company housing and forcing them to relocate. On November 22, white “peace and order” vigilantes went on a massacre in the black neighborhoods of Thibodaux where the workers and their families had sought refuge. Thirty-seven strikers were murdered and two strike leaders were lynched. – 1887

A scab driver crashed a New York City subway train in the Malbone Tunnel during a labor dispute. 97 died and 255 were injured in the tragedy. New York changed the name of the tunnel to erase the memory of the horrible accident and the infamous trial that followed. It is now called Prospect Park and Malbone St. – 1918

Over 400,000 miners across the country went on strike. Insurgent miners took over the United Mine Workers (UMW) convention in Cleveland, even though union officials tried to exclude rebellious locals. The union was so concerned with suppressing wildcat strikes and dissension among their ranks that they supplied scabs to help mine owners put down the wildcat strikes! The coal miners ignored their union’s orders to cancel the strike for nearly a month. – 1919

United Stone & Allied Products Workers of America merged with United Steelworkers of America. – 1972

The UAW began what was to become a successful 172-day strike against International Harvester. The union turned back company demands for weakened work rules and mandatory overtime. – 1979

Honda assembled the first-ever Japanese car manufactured in a U.S. plant, in Marysville, Ohio. By 2009 the plant was making 440,000 cars a year and Honda,  just one of the foreign manufacturers with multiple plants operating in the U.S., said it had sold 20 million cars since its American operation. – 1982

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