Today in Labor History – April 30th

Everettville mine
Everettville mine

50,000 workers in Chicago were on strike, with 30,000 more joining in the next day. The strike brought most of Chicago’s manufacturing to a standstill. On May 3rd, Chicago cops killed four unionists. A mass meeting and demonstration was called for the 4th, in Haymarket Square, where a cop would be killed by an assailant who would never be identified. Ultimately, eight anarchists (many not even in attendance) would be tried for murder and sentenced to death. This event, known as the Haymarket Tragedy or the Haymarket Affair, would go on to be the inspiration for International Workers’ Day, celebrated on May 1st in every country in the world except the U.S. – 1886

The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, miner’s strike continued, with 1,200 workers getting arrested and placed into specially erected bullpens until the strikes were broken. – 1889

An explosion at the Everettville mine in Everettville, West Virginia killed 109 miners, many of whom lie in unmarked graves to this day. – 1927

The TWU (Transport Workers Union) won $9.5 million in pensions for former Fifth Avenue Coach employees after a long court battle. – 1965

The Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board implemented new rules to speed up unionization elections. The new rules were largely seen as a counter to employer manipulation of the law to prevent workers from unionizing. – 2012

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