Today in Labor History – April 29th

labor history april 29

Coxey’s Army

Jacob Coxey led a group of 500 unemployed workers from the Midwest to Washington, D.C. His Army of the Poor was immediately arrested for trespassing on Capitol grounds. – 1894

    The Return of Coxey’s Army (By Eddie Starr)

    When they busted all the unions,
    You can’t make no living wage.
    And this working poor arrangement,
    Gonna turn to public rage.
    And then get ready . . .
    We’re gonna bring back Coxey’s Army
    And take his message to the street.

Failing to achieve their demand that only union men be employed at the Bunker Hill Company at Wardner, Idaho, members of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) dynamited the $250,000 mill, completely destroying it. President McKinley responded by sending in black soldiers from Brownsville, Texas, with orders to round up the miners and imprison them in specially built “bullpens”. From 1899 to 1901, the U.S. Army occupied the Coeur d’Alene mining region in Idaho. – 1899

The special representative to the National War Labor Board issued a report, Retroactive Date for Women’s Pay Adjustments, setting forth provisions respecting wage rates for women working in war industries who were asking for equal pay. A directive issued by the board in September 1942 stated that “rates for women shall be set in accordance with the principle of equal pay for comparable quantity and quality of work on comparable operations.” – 1943

Refusing to accept a 9-cent wage increase, the United Packinghouse Workers of America initiated a nationwide strike against meatpacking companies Swift, Armour, Cudahy, Wilson, Morrell, and others. Packinghouse workers shut down 140 plants around the country. – 1948

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