Today in Labor History – August 8th

Cesar Chavez

Delegates to the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly elected 35-year-old Charles James, leader of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ local union, as their president. He was the first African-American elected to that leadership post in St. Paul, and, many believe, the first anywhere in the nation. – 1902

The Cripple Creek, Colorado miners strike began. – 1903

The Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America merge with the Retail Clerks International Union to become United Food & Commercial Workers. – 1979

Cesar Chavez was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, becoming the first Mexican-American ever to receive the honor. Chavez co-founded the Nation Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW) in 1962. His public-relations approach to unionism and aggressive but nonviolent tactics made the farm workers’ struggle a moral cause with nationwide support. – 1994

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