Today in Labor History – February 13th

labor history february 13

Mother Jones

Boston Latin School was opened, the first public school in the United States.  – 1635

A flour Riot occurred in New York City. 6,000 New Yorkers attending a “bread, meat, rent, and fuel” meeting in Chatham Square assaulted local flour merchants who they claimed were hoarding flour in order to drive up the price. – 1837

Knights of Labor founder Uriah Stephens (born 1821) died on this date. – 1882

A national eight-month strike by the Sons of Vulcan, a union of iron forgers, ended in victory when employers agreed to a wage scale based on the price of iron bars. This was the first time employers recognized the union, and they negotiated the first union contract in the iron and steel industry, what may be the first union contract of any kind in the United States. – 1865

After West Virginia Governor William E. Glasscock declared martial law to put down the coal miners’ strike in in Kanawha county, 83-year old activist and organizer Mary Harris “Mother” Jones was arrested. She was tried and convicted by a military court and sentenced to twenty years in prison. “Whatever I have done in West Virginia”, she said, “I have done it all over the United States. And when I get out, I will do it again.” She was released and pardoned after serving 85 days. – 1913

Some 12,000 Hollywood writers returned to work today following a largely-successful three-month strike against television and motion picture studios.  They won compensation for their TV and movie work that gets streamed on the Internet. – 2008

The Autobiography of Mother Jones

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