Today in Labor History – July 20th


In the midst of the Great Strike, Maryland state militia fired on striking railroad workers in Baltimore, killing 50. – 1877

New York City newsboys, many so poor that they were sleeping in the streets, began a two-week strike. Several rallies drew more than 5,000 newsboys, complete with charismatic speeches by strike leader Kid Blink, who was blind in one eye. The boys had to pay publishers up front for the newspapers. The strike lasted two weeks, causing Pulitzer’s New York World to reduce its circulation from 360,000 to 125,000. The strike was successful in increasing the amount of money newsboys received for their work and in forcing the publishers to buy back unsold papers. – 1899

Police, acting on orders from the Citizens Alliance, an anti-labor employers’ group, shot at picketing strikers and their supporters during the Minneapolis Teamsters strike without provocation, killing two and wounding 67 more. This became known as Bloody Friday. – 1934

The UAW (United Auto Workers) was indicted for illegal political contributions. – 1955

The first labor contract in the history of the federal government was signed by postal unions and the Postal Service following an unauthorized strike by 200,000 postal workers the year before. – 1971

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