Today in Labor History – September 3rd

labor history september 3

Imperial Poultry processing plant fire

African-American cotton pickers organized and went on strike against miserably low wages and other injustices in Lee County, Texas.  Growers had an arrangement with local law enforcement to round up blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations. Over the course of September a white mob put down the strike, killing 15 strikers in the process – 1891

The Adamson Act was passed, establishing an 8-hour workday with additional pay for overtime work, for employees of interstate railroads. – 1916

Some 300 musicians working in Chicago movie houses went on strike to protest their impending replacement by talking movies – 1928

Twenty-five workers died and 55 were injured, unable to escape a  fire at the Imperial Poultry processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina. Managers had locked fire doors to prevent the theft of chicken nuggets. The plant had operated for 11 years without a single safety inspection. – 1991

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