Today in Labor History – May 24th

Brooklyn Bridge under construction
Brooklyn Bridge under construction

After 14 years of construction and the deaths of 27 workers, the Brooklyn Bridge over New York’s East River opened. Newspapers call it “the eighth wonder of the world”. – 1883

UAW labor leader Victor Reuther was shot and nearly killed at his Detroit home by police. His brother Walter had previously survived an attempted abduction in April 1938, a shotgun attack in 1948 and a bombing in 1949. He ultimately died in a plane crash in 1970, though curiously only one newspaper speculated that it might have been an assassination. – 1949

An 11-day strike began at the state prison in Lucasville, Ohio. – 1973

Earth First! And IWW members Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney were bombed in Oakland, California. Police immediately arrested the victims, destroyed evidence, and went on a witch hunt of local activist groups like Earth First! and Seeds of Peace. – 1990

2,300 members of the United Rubber Workers, on strike for ten months against five Bridgestone-Firestone plants, agreed to return to work without a contract. They had been fighting demands for 12-hour shifts and wage increases tied to productivity gains. – 1995

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