Today in Labor History – September 21st

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

The militia was sent to Leadville, Colorado to bust a miners’ strike.  Leadville was a leading mining community during the latter half of the 19th century due to its rich silver deposits. The amazing mineral wealth of Colorado turned it into the nation’s main mining region, and contributed to the wealth of families like the Guggenheims. The Leadville miners’ strike was an action by the Cloud City Miners’ Union, which was the Leadville, Colorado local of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM). They protested against those silver mines paying less that $3.00 per day. The strike lasted 8 months and resulted in a major defeat for the union, largely due to the unified opposition of the mine owners. The failure of the strike caused the WFM to leave the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and is regarded as the cause for the WFM turn toward revolutionary socialism. – 1896

Mother Jones led a march of miners’ children through the streets of Charleston to illustrate the effects of poverty. Between 1912 and 1913, there were frequent violent conflicts during the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike in West Virginia. – 1912

National Football League Players Association members began what was to become a 57-day strike, their first regular-season walkout ever. The NFL Players Association demanded, among other things, that its members receive 55% of the league’s gross revenues. The players walked and didn’t return until seven regular-season games had been lost, to say nothing of the $275 million in revenues and wages. The owners were also forced to return $50 million to the networks. – 1982

Members of five unions at the Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas began what was to become the longest successful hotel strike in U.S. history. All 550 workers honored the picket line for the entirety of the 6-year, 4-month, 10-day fight against management’s insistence on cutting wages and eliminating pensions. The locals taking part in the strike were Culinary Workers Local 226, Bartenders Local 165, Operating Engineers Local 501, Teamsters Local 995, and Carpenters Local 1780. – 1991

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