Today in Labor History – March 28th

labor history march 28

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was arrested for giving a lecture on contraceptives. Goldman believed that knowledge of and access to contraceptives was key to women’s ability to control their own bodies and thus their social and material well being. – 1915

Members of the Gas House Workers’ Union Local 18799 began what was to become a four-month recognition strike against the Laclede Gas Light Company in St. Louis. The union later said the strike was the first ever against a public utility in the U.S. – 1935

Martin Luther King led a march of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Police attacked the workers with mace and sticks. A 16-year old boy was shot and 280 workers were arrested. He was assassinated a few days later after speaking to the striking workers. The sanitation workers were mostly black. They worked for starvation wages under plantation like conditions, generally under racist white bosses. Workers could be fired for being one minute late or for talking back and they got no breaks. Organizing escalated in the early 1960s and reached its peak in February 1968, when two workers were crushed to death in the back of a garbage truck. – 1968

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