Today in Labor History – January 20th

Bruce Springsteen (The Boss)

Bruce Springsteen (The Boss)

A mile and a half offshore on Lake Michigan, fire broke out in a temporary water crib used to access an intermediate point along a water intake tunnel under construction for the city of Chicago. The fire spread to the wooden dormitory that housed the tunnel workers. Forty-six workers survived the fire by jumping into the lake and climbing onto ice floes and sixty men died in the fire or drowned trying to escape. – 1909

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded. – 1920

750,000 US steel workers struck as part of a post war strike wave that encompassed well over a million workers. – 1946

Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown” topped the music charts on this date in 1986. The song, a eulogy for dying industrial cities, included the lines

Now Main Street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and their ain’t coming back to your hometown
Your Hometown
Your Hometown
Your Hometown   – 1986

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