Today in Labor History – June 21st

Molly Maguires

Ten miners accused of being militant “Molly Maguires” were hanged in Pennsylvania. Many historians argue that the Molly Maguires, a secret miners’ organization allegedly responsible for violence and social conflict in the coal regions, never really existed. A private corporation initiated the investigation of the ten accused miners through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. “The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows,” a judge said many years later. – 1877

The US Supreme Court upheld the right of unions to publish statements urging members to vote for a specific congressional candidate, ruling that such advocacy is not a violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act. – 1948

The UAW began a strike at Illinois Caterpillar plants in Peoria, Decatur, and Pontiac. – 1994

100,000 unionists and other supporters marched in solidarity with striking Detroit News and Detroit Free Press newspaper workers. – 1997

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