Today in Labor History – April 11th

Police confront strikers during 1985 Hormel strike
Police confront strikers during 1985 Hormel strike

Frank Norman, who had the gall to organize all citrus workers regardless of their race, was kidnapped from his home in Florida and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. – 1934

Richard Whitney, five-term president of the New York Stock Exchange, was sentenced to 5-10 years for grand larceny. – 1938

Ford Motor Company signed its first contract with United Auto Workers. – 1941

Jackie Robinson, the first black ballplayer hired by a major league team, played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. – 1947

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law barring racial discrimination in housing and other areas. The Act also made it a crime to cross state lines with the intent to incite a riot, giving the government a new tool to prosecute labor and other protest organizers. – 1968

United Mine Workers President W. A. “Tony” Boyle was found guilty of first-degree murder, for ordering the 1969 assassination of union reformer Joseph A. “Jock” Yablonski. Yablonski and his wife and daughter were murdered on December 30, 1969. Boyle had defeated Yablonski in the UMW election earlier in the year, an election marred by intimidation and vote fraud. That election was set aside and a later vote was won by reformer Arnold Miller. – 1974

An eleven-day strike by 34,000 New York City Transit Authority workers for higher wages ended with management agreeing to a 9% raise in the first year and 8% in the second year. During this same year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibited sexual harassment of workers by supervisors in the workplace. – 1980

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations prohibiting sexual harassment of workers by supervisors in the workplace. – 1980

Seventeen were arrested on felony riot charges after police tear-gassed striking Hormel meatpacking workers in Austin, Minnesota. The following day, 6,000 people demonstrated against Hormel and the police (nearly one-third of the city’s entire population). The strike was eventually suppressed by Hormel, with the collaboration of the state, and the workers’ own union. – 1986

Some 25,000 marchers in Watsonville, California showed support for the United Farm Workers organizing campaign among strawberry workers. – 1997

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