Today in Labor History – September 11th

Crystal Lee Sutton

Crystal Lee Sutton

75,000 coal miners in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia ended a 10-week strike after winning an 8-hour day, semi-monthly pay and the abolition of overpriced company-owned stores where they had been forced to shop. (Remember the song, “Sixteen Tons,” by coal miner’s son Merle Travis, in which there’s this line: “I owe my soul to the company store.”). – 1897

More than 3,000 people died when suicide hijackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Among the dead in New York were 634 union members, the majority of them New York City firefighters and police on the scene when the towers fell.- 2001

Crystal Lee Sutton, the real-life Norma Rae of the movies, died at age 68. Click To Tweet She worked at a J.P. Stevens textile plant in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina when low pay and poor working conditions led her to become a union activist. She was fired from her job for “insubordination” after she copied an anti-union letter posted on the company bulletin board. – 2009

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