Today in Labor History – July 28th

Women shoemakers in Lynn, Massachusetts created the Daughters of St. Crispin, the first national women’s labor union in the U.S. The union began with a strike of over a thousand female workers in 1860. By the end of 1869, it had a total of 24 local lodges across the U.S., the largest of which had over 400 members. Conventions of all the lodges were held annually in Massachusetts until 1872. The Name “Daughters of St. Crispin” was inspired by the contemporary men’s union of shoemakers, the order of the Knights of St. Crispin. Saint Crispin is the patron saint of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. In 1870, a convention of the Daughters of St. Crispin unanimously adopted a resolution which demanded equal pay for doing the same work as men. – 1860

Harry Bridges was born in Australia. He came to America at age 19 and became a leader of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA). In 1937 he led several chapters in forming a new union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), expanding membership to warehouse workers. He led the ILWU for the next 40 years. – 1901

A strike by Paterson, New Jersey silk workers for an eight-hour day and improved working conditions ended after six months, with the workers’ demands unmet. During the course of the strike, approximately 1,800 strikers were arrested, including Wobblie leaders Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. – 1913

General Douglas MacArthur, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower and their troops, burned down a shantytown occupied by unemployed veterans near the U.S. Capitol. 20,000 ex-servicemen had been camped out in the capital demanding a veterans’ bonus the government had promised but never given. Cavalry troops and tanks fired tear gas at veterans and their families and then set the buildings on fire. MacArthur and President Herbert Hoover said they had saved the nation from revolution. – 1932

Nine miners were rescued in Sommerset, Pennsylvania. after being trapped for 77 hours, 240 feet underground in the flooded Quecreek Mine. – 2002

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