Today in Labor History – November 20th

Labor History November 20

First use of the term “scab,” by Albany Typographical Society. – 1816

Norman Thomas was born on this day. Thomas was a Presbyterian minister who achieved fame as a socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America. – 1884

The time clock was invented by Willard Bundy, a jeweler in Auburn, NewYork. Bundy’s brother Harlow started mass producing them a year later. – 1888

A mine fire in Telluride, Colorado, killed 28 miners, prompting a union call for safer work conditions. – 1901

Rose Pesotta, union organizer, anarchist, and vice president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, was born. Pesotta began working in a shirtwaist factory in New York in 1913 and there became involved with ILGWU Local 25. She went on to organize tirelessly for the union around the country and in 1934 was elected vice president of the ILGWU, the first woman to hold that position. – 1896

Bituminous coal workers went on strike directly against the US government, which had seized all the bituminous coal mines on May 21. The government secured an injunction against the strike, resulting in $3.5 million fine against the UMW. – 1946

The Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, West Virginia, exploded, killing 78 miners. The explosion was large enough to be felt in Fairmont, almost 12 miles away. At the time, 99 miners were inside. Over the course of the next few hours, 21 miners were able to escape the mine, but 78 were still trapped. The bodies of 19 of the dead were never recovered. – 1968

The Great Recession hit high gear when the stock market fell to its lowest level since 1997. Adding to the mess: a burst housing bubble and total incompetence and greed, some of it criminal, on the part of the nation’s largest banks and Wall Street investment firms. Officially, the recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. – 2008

The Gentle General: Rose Pesotta Anarchist and Labor Organizer (SUNY Series in American Labor History)

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