Today in Labor History – January 8th

Mary Kenney O’Sullivan

Mary Kenney O’Sullivan

Mary Kenney O’Sullivan (1864-1943) was born on this date in Hannibal, Missouri. O’Sullivan was the first American Federation of Labor (AFL) woman organizer. She also organized the Woman’s Bookbinder Union in 1880 and was a founder of the National Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) in 1903. – 1864

Mary Kenney O'Sullivan, the first AFL woman organizer, was born today in Hannibal, Missouri Click To Tweet

The largest slave revolt in U.S. history began on Louisiana sugar plantations. Slaves armed with hand tools marched toward New Orleans, setting plantations and crops on fire, building their numbers to an estimated 300-500 as they went. The uprising lasted for two days before it was brutally suppressed by the military. – 1811

The American Federation of Labor chartered a Mining Department. – 1912

The AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee ended the “Great Steel Strike”. Some 350,000 to 400,000 steelworkers had been striking for more than three months, demanding union recognition. The strike failed. – 1920

In San Jose, California, teachers joined with striking students to oppose the Vietnam War. – 1969

The Wire Service Guild, the union representing employees of the Associated Press struck. After 8 days, victory was declared when workers won shorter hours for night and Sunday staffer, cost-of-living protections, increased contributions to healthcare, and additional vacation days. More importantly, the strike energized and mobilized the Guild leadership to file a lawsuit that opened the AP to women and minorities. – 1969

200 Teamsters leaders held a “Labor for Peace” meeting to oppose the Gulf War in New York City. – 1991

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