Today in Labor History – December 6th

362 Miners Die Monongal, WV

The U.S. ratified  the 13th amendment and abolished [chattel] slavery. Prisoners could (and can still) be forced to work without wages, while all workers were (and still are) subject to wage slavery. – 1865

African American delegates met in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union as a branch of the all-white National Labor Union created three years earlier. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU’s founding president; Frederick Douglas became president in 1872. – 1869

The Washington Monument was completed in Washington, D.C. On the interior of the monument are 193 commemorative stones, donated by numerous governments and organizations from all over the world; one of them is from the Int’l Typographical Union, founded in 1852. In 1986 the ITU merged into the Communications Workers of America – 1884

Heywood Broun, cofounder of The Newspaper Guild, was born in New York City. – 1888

The trial of the Chicago Haymarket anarchists began amidst national and international outrage and protest. – 1889

At 10:20 am., explosions occurred at the No. 6 and No. 8 mines at Monongah, West Virginia. The explosions ripped through the mines at 10:28 a.m., causing the earth to shake as far as eight miles away, shattering buildings and pavements, hurling people and horses violently to the ground, and knocking streetcars off the rails. [bctt tweet=”Three-hundred and sixty-two men and boys died. It remains the worst mine disaster in U.S. history. ” username=”VoicesOfLabor”]Over 3,200 miners were killed on the job in U.S. mines in 1907 because mining companies persistently disregarded recognized safety practices. – 1907

Dorothy Day co-founded the Catholic Worker newspaper, New York City. – 1933

The International Glove Workers Union of America merged into the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. – 1961

Rose Pesotta, anarchist labor activist, died on this date. Pesotta was the only woman on the General Executive Board of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers (ILGWU) from 1933-1944. She participated in a 10-year struggle to organize workers, including a turf war with a communist faction. – 1965

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