Today in Labor History – August 19th

The first edition of the IWW Little Red Songbook was published. Since the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the IWW, songs have played a big part in spreading the message of the One Big Union (an idea in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among trade unionists to unite the interests of workers and offer solutions to all labor problems). – 1909

Strikebreakers attacked and beat picketing IWW strikers in Everett, Washington. The police refused to intervene, claiming it was federal jurisdiction. However, when the strikers retaliated, they arrested the strikers. Vigilante attacks on IWW picketers and speakers escalated and continued for months, culminating in the Everett massacre on November 5, when union men were fired upon, with seven dying and 50 being wounded. – 1916

Some 2,000 United Railroads streetcar service workers and supporters paraded down San Francisco’s Market Street in support of pay demands and against the company’s anti-union policies. The strike failed in late November in the face of more than 1,000 strikebreakers, some of them imported from Chicago. – 1917

Members of the Newspaper Guild struck the Hearst-owned “Seattle Post-Intelligencer,” shutting it down for nearly four months. – 1936

The Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO was founded, to give “workers employed in the maritime industry and its allied trades a voice in shaping national policy”. – 1946

The Communist Control Act was passed in the U.S., outlawing the Communist Party and criminalized membership in, or support for the Party or “Communist-action” organizations. The Act defined evidence to be considered by a jury in determining participation in the activities, planning, actions, objectives, or purposes of such organizations. – 1954

Phelps-Dodge copper miners in Morenci and Clifton, Arizona, were confronted by tanks, helicopters, 426 state troopers and 325 National Guardsmen brought in to walk strikebreakers through picket lines in what was to become a failed 3-year fight by the Steelworkers and other unions. – 1983

The United Parcel Service agreed to a contract with the Teamsters after a 16-day strike. This was labor’s first successful nationwide strike in two decades. – 1997

Some 4,400 mechanics, cleaners, and custodians, members of AMFA (Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association) at Northwest Airlines, struck the carrier over job security, pay cuts and work rule changes. The 14-month strike failed, with most union jobs lost to replacements and outside contractors. – 2005

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