Today in Labor History – July 7th

Mother Jones

Striking New York longshoremen met to discuss ways to keep new immigrants from scabbing. They were successful, at least for a time. On July 14, 500 newly arrived Jews marched straight from their ship to the union hall. On July 15, 250 Italian immigrants stopped scabbing on the railroad and joined the union. – 1882

The March of the Mill Children, the three-week trek from Philadelphia to President Roosevelt’s home on Long Island by striking child and adult textile workers, was launched by Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. The march turned public attention on the scourge of child labor and energized efforts to end it by law. – 1903

Cloakmakers began what was to be a two-month strike against New York City sweatshops. – 1910

Workers began construction on the Boulder Dam (now known as Hoover Dam) on the Colorado River, during the Great Depression. Wages and conditions were horrible—16 workers and work camp residents died of the heat over just a single 30-day period—and two strikes over the four years of construction led to only nominal improvements in pay and conditions. – 1931

The Puerto Rican general strike of 1998 began as a strike of the Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) workers protested a government privatization plan. Three weeks later, 500,000 people joined a two-day general strike, bringing commerce and travel to a standstill. The strike failed to stop the privatization plan, and in July a consortium led by GTE bought the PRTC for $1.9 billion. – 1998

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