Today in Labor History – May 21st

labor history may 21

Minneapolis General Strike

Italian activists and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, widely believed to have been framed for murder, went on trial today. They eventually were executed as part of a government campaign against dissidents. – 1921

The Minneapolis General Strike by the Teamsters Union commenced, with a pitched battle between striking Teamsters and business goons. – 1934

The Little Wagner Act was signed in Hawaii, guaranteeing pineapple and sugar workers the right to bargain collectively. After negotiations failed, a successful 79-day strike shut down 33 of the territory’s 34 plantations and brought higher wages and a 40-hour week. – 1945

The U.S. government seized control of the nation’s coal mines in order to maintain production during a nationwide coal strike. Despite the government’s actions, miners continued to strike, forcing the government to concede to many of their demands, concessions that even the mine owners refused to grant. Miners struck again in November, in violation of a federal injunction, resulting in a $3.5 million fine. – 1946

White Night riots occurred in San Francisco, California in protest of the hand slap given to former city supervisor, Dan White, for murdering the city’s first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, and mayor George Moscone. White was determined to be temporarily insane from having eaten too much junk food. A similar defense has failed repeatedly to get students excused from exams or school detentions. – 1979

Nearly 100,000 unionized SBC Communications Inc. workers began a four-day strike to protest the local phone giant’s latest contract offer. – 2004

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