Today in Labor History – July 21st

The Great Upheaval
The Great Upheaval

30,000 Chicago workers rallied on Market Street during the Great Upheaval, a wave of strikes occurring throughout the country. Future anarchist and Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons spoke to the crowd, advocating the use of the ballot to obtain “state control of the means of production,” and urged workers to join the Workingmen’s Party. Parsons was later abducted by armed men who took him to the police where he was interrogated and informed that he had caused the city great trouble. Local militiamen were called out against striking railroad workers in Pittsburgh. The head of the Pennsylvania Railroad advised giving the strikers “a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread.” Instead, the militiamen joined the workers. Meanwhile, federal troops were sent to Baltimore, where they killed 10 strikers and wounded 25.  – 1877

A compressed air explosion killed 20 workers constructing a railroad tunnel under the Hudson River. – 1880

IWW led a strike at Hodgeman’s Blueberry Farm in Grand Junction, Mich. – 1964

Radio station WCFL, owned and operated by the Chicago Federation of Labor (hence the call sign),  took to the airwaves with two hours of music. The first and only labor-owned radio station in the country, WCFL was sold in 1979. – 1926

A die-cast operator in Jackson, Mich. was pinned by a hydraulic Unimate robot and died five days later. The incident is the first documented case in the U.S. of a robot killing a human. – 1984

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