Today in Labor History – February 3rd

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

The US Supreme Court ruled the United Hatters Union violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by organizing a nationwide boycott of Danbury Hatters of Connecticut. – 1908

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones addressed Milwaukee brewery workers during a two-month stint working alongside women bottle-washers while on leave from the United Mine Workers: ”Condemned to slave daily in the washroom in wet shoes and wet clothes, surrounded with foul-mouthed, brutal foremen . . . the poor girls work in the vile smell of sour beer, lifting cases of empty and full bottles weighing from 100 to 150 pounds, in their wet shoes and rags, for they cannot buy clothes on the pittance doled out to them. . . . Rheumatism is one of the chronic ailments and is closely followed by consumption . . . An illustration of what these girls must submit to, one about to become a mother told me with tears in her eyes that every other day a depraved specimen of mankind took delight in measuring her girth and passing comments.” – 1910

32,000 textile mill workers were actively involved in the “Bread & Roses” strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The strike began last month and continued for over nine weeks. Several strikers were killed by cops and goons. Annie Welzenbach and her two teenage sisters were dragged from their beds in the middle of the night. 200 police attacked striking women with their clubs. – 1912

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously in United States v. Darby to uphold the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which banned certain types of child labor, established a minimum wage, and set a maximum workweek at 44 hours. – 1941

An explosion at the Thiokol chemical plant in Woodbine, Georgia, killed 29 workers and severely injured many more. Investigations found that mislabeled chemicals, inadequate storage procedures, and insufficient fire protection all contributed to the explosion. – 1971

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1 thought on “Today in Labor History – February 3rd”

  1. Americans suffer from amnesia they know what happened last week on The Bachelor but are unaware of the brutality that workers were subjected to when trying to organize. Some were starved others were murdered. Employers never give willingly. Labor only has each other. Our government gives tax breaks to companies, Towns role back environment and property tax protections to attract their business only to under pay the workers who turn to food stamps. Why are we willing to accept so little?!

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