Today in Labor History – April 10th

The “Saint of Labor Day” Frances Perkins

This was the birth date of Frances Perkins, the “Saint of Labor Day”, named Secretary of Labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, becoming the first woman to hold a cabinet-level office. – 1880

133 people, mostly women and girls, were killed when an explosion in the loading room tore apart the Eddystone Ammunition Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, near Chester. Fifty-five of the dead were never identified. – 1917

Labor leader, community organizer, civil rights activist, and feminist Dolores Huerta was born on this date. With Cesar Chavez, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which would later become the United Farm Workers. “Walk the street with us into history”, Huerta said. “Get off the sidewalk.” – 1930

Seattle’s Hooverville was burnt to the ground. Set up by people impoverished in the Great Depression to protest the policies of President Hoover, Seattle’s Hooverville encompassed 25 city blocks by 1941. – 1941

FBI agents visited Ronald Reagan (then president of the Screen Actors Guild) and his wife Jane Wyman, accusing them of belonging to a communist front group. To prove his loyalty, Reagan agreed to become a secret informer and went on to have a long and illustrious career as an anti-communist. – 1947

Dancers from the Lusty Lady Club in San Francisco’s North Beach ratified their first-ever union contract by a vote of 57-15, having won representation by SEIU Local 790 the previous summer. The club later became a worker-owned cooperative. – 1997

Tens of thousands of immigrants demonstrated in 100 U.S. cities in a national day of action billed as a campaign for immigrants’ dignity. Some 200,000 gathered in Washington, D.C. – 2006

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