Today in Labor History – December 6th

labor history december 6

362 Miners Die Monongal, WV

The U.S. ratified  the 13th amendment and abolished [chattel] slavery. Prisoners could (and can still) be forced to work without wages, while all workers were (and still are) subject to wage slavery. – 1865

African American delegates met in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union as a branch of the all-white National Labor Union created three years earlier. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU’s founding president; Frederick Douglas became president in 1872. – 1869

The Washington Monument was completed in Washington, D.C. On the interior of the monument are 193 commemorative stones, donated by numerous governments and organizations from all over the world; one of them is from the Int’l Typographical Union, founded in 1852. In 1986 the ITU merged into the Communications Workers of America – 1884

Heywood Broun, cofounder of The Newspaper Guild, was born in New York City. – 1888

The trial of the Chicago Haymarket anarchists began amidst national and international outrage and protest. – 1889

At 10:20 am., explosions occurred at the No. 6 and No. 8 mines at Monongah, West Virginia. The explosions ripped through the mines at 10:28 a.m., causing the earth to shake as far as eight miles away, shattering buildings and pavements, hurling people and horses violently to the ground, and knocking streetcars off the rails. Three-hundred and sixty-two men and boys died. It remains the worst mine disaster in U.S. history. Over 3,200 miners were killed on the job in U.S. mines in 1907 because mining companies persistently disregarded recognized safety practices. – 1907

Dorothy Day co-founded the Catholic Worker newspaper, New York City. – 1933

The International Glove Workers Union of America merged into the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. – 1961

Rose Pesotta, anarchist labor activist, died on this date. Pesotta was the only woman on the General Executive Board of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers (ILGWU) from 1933-1944. She participated in a 10-year struggle to organize workers, including a turf war with a communist faction. – 1965

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