Today in Labor History – October 7th

labor history october 7

Joe Hill

Radical labor organizer and song writer Joel Emmanuel Hägglund (aka “Joe Hill”) was born in Gavle, Sweden. Hill was an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He was arrested and convicted on trumped up murder charges and executed in Utah. His famous last words to IWW co-founder Big Bill Haywood were “Don’t mourn. Organize”. Some of Hill’s most famous songs were The Preacher and the Slaver, Rebel Girl, There is Power in the Union, and Casey Jones-Union Scab. – 1879

The Structural Building Trades Alliance (SBTA) was founded. The organization’s primary goal was to provide a forum in which jurisdictional conflicts between trade unions could be adjudicated. But the organization lacked the power to enforce its rulings. Under pressure from competing AFL building trades councils and repeated threats of disaffiliation by its own members, it affiliated with the AFL in 1908. – 1903

The United Mine Workers withdrew from the CIO. – 1942

Hollywood’s “Battle of the Mirrors” took place on this date. Picketing members of the Conference of Studio Unions disrupted an outdoor shoot by holding up large reflectors that filled camera lenses with blinding sunlight. Members of the competing IATSE union retaliated by using the reflectors to shoot sunlight back across the street. The battle went on all day, writes Tom Sito in “Drawing the Line”. – 1946

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