Today in Labor History – September 4th

Peekskill Riots

Peekskill Riots

Twelve thousand New York tailors went out on strike to protest the sweatshop system that exploited their labor for half the  year, and gave them no work the other half. – 1894

Police and deputy sheriffs were relieved of their duties in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and all citizens were required to register their firearms, as mine owners attempted to bust the labor union. Governor Peabody sent in the militia. In 1904 they took over the local newspaper and rounded up strikers into “bullpens”. Dozens were arrested without warrants. – 1903

Hundreds of miners assembled at Lens Creek, West Virginia in response to rumors that women and children were being killed in Logan County by the anti-union mine owners and deputy sheriffs who were on their payroll. 5,000 miners had arrived by nightfall. Many of them were armed. – 1920

[bctt tweet=”More than 140 attendees at a benefit for a civil rights group were injured in the “Peekskill Riots” in Peekskill, New York.” username=”VoicesOfLabor”] The victims were among the 20,000 people leaving a concert featuring African-American Paul Robeson, well-known for his strong pro-unionism, civil rights activism and left-wing affiliations. The departing concert-goers had to drive through a miles-long gauntlet of rock-throwing racists and others chanting “go on back to Russia, you niggers” and “white niggers”. – 1949

The International Brotherhood of Bookbinders merged with the Graphic Arts International Union. – 1972

In what many believe was to become the longest strike in U.S. history, 600 Teamster-represented workers walked out at the Diamond Walnut processing plant in Stockton, California The company had refused to restore a 30-percent pay cut workers had taken earlier to help out the company. The two sides ultimately agreed to a new contract 14 years later. – 1991

Radical lawyer William Kunstler died on this date. During his long career, Kunstler defended the Chicago Seven, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, Lenny Bruce, H. Rap Brown, American Indian Movement activists after the siege at Pine Ridge, and Attica prisoners after the siege there. – 1995

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