Today in Labor History – January 3rd

labor history january 3

The ship Thetis arrived in Hawaii with 175 Chinese field workers bound to serve for five years at $3 per month. – 1852

The trial of labor organizer Tom Mooney began in San Francisco. Mooney was framed for the Preparedness Day bombing by detective Martin Swanson, who had a long history of interfering in San Francisco strikes. Swanson maintained constant surveillance of Mooney and Warren Billings, as well as Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman. Billing and Mooney were convicted and imprisoned for the bombing, with Mooney serving over 22 years for a crime he did not commit. – 1917

Nearly 500 farmers, black and white, marched into England, Arkansas, to demand food for their starving families after their crops were ruined by a long drought. The farmers warned that they would take the food by force if it was not freely provided to them. The town father contacted the Red Cross and each family went home with two week’s rations. This was not the first, nor would it be the last time this happened during the Great Depression. – 1931

The Supreme Court ruled against the closed shop, a labor-management agreement whereby only union members can be hired and must remain members to continue on the job. – 1949

450,000 public school kids went on strike in New York City to protest de facto racial segregation and poor learning conditions. – 1964

AFL-CIO American Institute for Free Labor Development employees Mike Hammer and Mark Pearlman were assassinated in El Salvador along with a Peasant Workers’ Union leader with whom they were working on a land reform program. – 1981

Frame-up; the incredible case of Tom Mooney and Warren Billings

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