Today in Labor History – July 9th

The Charleston Five

Federal troops raided the IWW hall in Yakima, Washington. – 1917

The worst rail accident in U.S history occurred when two passenger trains operated by the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway (“NC&StL”) collided head-on at Dutchman’s curve in west Nashville, Tennessee. 101 people died, and another 171 were injured. – 1918

New England Telephone “girls” went on strike for a seven-hour workday, $27 weekly pay after four years’ service. – 1923

New York City subway system managers in the Bronx attempted to make cleaning crews on the IRT line work faster by forcing the use of a 14-inch squeegee instead of the customary 10-inch tool. Six workers were fired for insubordination; a two-day walkout by the Transport Workers Union won a reversal of the directive and the workers’ reinstatement. – 1935

The first U.S. mine safety law was enacted to prevent mine disasters. – 1952

United Packinghouse, Food & Allied Workers merged with Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen. – 1968

Five thousand demonstrators rallied at the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina in support of the “Charleston Five,” labor activists. The Five were longshoremen and union members of Local 1422 of the International Longshoremen’s Association. The were peacefully protesting a Danish freight company’s use of non-union workers on the Charleston docks when a fight broke out between picketing workers and the police force. The Charleston Five were arrested along with four others and were held on felony charges which could have carried a prison sentence of up to 10 years. They were finally freed of all charges in November 2001 after a one-year trial, throughout which they were kept under house arrest. – 2001

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