Today in Labor History – October 9th

Morris Hillquit

Mary Heaton Vorse was born on this date in New York. Vorse was a labor journalist who wrote eyewitness accounts of many of the significant labor battles of her day. She also wrote the novel, “Strike!” which was made into a film in 2007. – 1874

United Hebrew Trades was organized in New York by shirtmaker Morris Hillquit and others. Hillquit would later become the leader of the Socialist Party. – 1888

A lettuce strike occurred in Salinas, California. Fearing communists, authorities removed the red flags that had appeared throughout town, only to find out later that they were part of a traffic check being done by the state highway division. – 1936

[bctt tweet=”Retail stock brokerage Smith Barney reached a tentative sexual harassment settlement with a group of female employees.” username=”VoicesOfLabor”] The suit charged, among other things, that branch managers asked female workers to remove their tops in exchange for money and one office featured a “boom boom room” where women workers were encouraged to “entertain clients”. The settlement was never finalized: a U.S. District Court Judge refused to approve the deal because it failed to adequately redress the plaintiff’s grievances. – 1997

3,300 sanitation workers working for private haulers in Chicago won a 9-day strike featuring a 28 percent wage increase over 5 years. – 2003

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