Today in Labor History – January 27th

Pete Seeger

New York City maids organized to improve working conditions. – 1734

A mine explosion in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania Left more than 100 dead. – 1891

In Adair v. United States, the United States Supreme Court upheld employers’ “yellow-dog” contracts, which forbade workers from joining a union as a condition of their employment. They were finally outlawed in 1932 in the U.S. under the Norris-LaGuardia Act.- 1908

The first meeting of the International Labor Organization (ILO) was held on this date. – 1920

Kansas miners stuck against compulsory arbitration. – 1920

A 3-cent postage stamp was issued, honoring AFL (American Federation of Labor) founder Samuel Gompers. – 1950

A group of Detroit African-American auto workers known as the Eldon Avenue Axle Plant Revolutionary Union Movement led a wildcat strike against racism and bad working conditions. They were critical of both automakers and the UAW (United Automobile Workers), condemning the seniority system and grievance procedures as racist. – 1969

Hormel workers were locked out for honoring an Ottumwa, Iowa picket line. – 1986

Folk singer and songwriter Pete Seeger died on this date at the age of 94. Seeger was active in progressive causes his entire life, using music to champion labor, civil rights, women’s rights, peace, and the environmental movement. “I call them all love songs”, he said of his music. – 2014

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