Today in Labor History – February 9th

George Lippard

George Lippard

Novelist, journalist, and social activist George Lippard died on this day. Considered the first muckraking novel in the United States, his The Quaker City was a bestseller about city life in Philadelphia. Lippard founded the Brotherhood of the Union to “espouse the cause of the Masses, and battle against the tyrants of the Social System – against corrupt Bankers, against Land Monopolists, and against all Monied Oppressors”. The Brotherhood eventually had 40,000 members in 20 states. – 1854

Congress approved legislation allowing for a total of $940,000,000 to be used for Depression-era relief projects. $790,000,000 of this money was intended to be used to fund work relief and flood recovery programs. – 1937

U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy falsely charged that the State Department was riddled with Communists. It seemed that just about everyone else the Wisconsin senator didn’t like was a Communist as well, including scores of unionists. This was the beginning of “McCarthyism”. McCarthy ultimately was officially condemned by the Senate and died of alcoholism. – 1950

President Kennedy asked Congress to approve the creation of the Medicare program. It was financed by an increase in Social Security taxes and aided 14.2 million Americans aged 65 or older. – 1961

Boeing engineers and technical workers begin what was to become a forty-day strike over economic issues. At the time, it was the largest white-collar strike at a private company in the U.S. It ended in a victory for the 22,000 workers represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA). – 2000

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