Today in Labor History – April 18th

Clarence Darrow
Clarence Darrow

Clarence Darrow was born. Darrow was the lawyer who defended Eugene V. Debs and the Wobblies, as well as John Scopes, the teacher who was prosecuted for teaching evolution in the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial”. – 1857

Canada’s Prime Minister Sir John Macdonald introduced the Trade Union Act to legalize unions in the country. Two days earlier, leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union, whose members are on strike for a nine-hour workday,  were arrested for common conspiracy. – 1872

260 women laborers at Shotwell, Clerihew & Lothman walked out of the clothing factory in downtown Minneapolis to protest a pay cut. They became known as the “striking maidens of 1888”, inspiring women in the cause of social justice. – 1888

The IWW poem, We Have Fed You All For A Thousand Years, was published in the Industrial Union Bulletin. – 1908

We have fed you all for a thousand years

& you hail us still unfed

Though there’s never a dollar of all your wealth

But marks the workers dead

We have yielded our best to give you rest

& you lie on crimson wool

But if blood be the price of all your wealth

Good God we have paid in full…


The National Guard was called out against striking West Virginia coal miners, initiating one of the most violent strikes in the nation’s history. UMWA miners were demanding to be paid the same as other area miners in the area and to have their union recognized. – 1912

After a four-week boycott led by Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., bus companies in New York City agreed to hire 200 black drivers and mechanics. – 1941

Some 200,000 CWA telephone workers struck the Bell System. The strike ended after 18 days, with workers winning wage and benefit increases totaling nearly 20 percent over three years. – 1968

Members of Columbia’s Graduate Student Employees United and Yale’s Graduate Student Employees and Students Organization begin a five-day strike for union recognition. It was the first multi-university strike by Ivy League graduate students. – 2005

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