Today in Labor History – February 9th

George Lippard

Novelist, journalist, and social activist George Lippard died on this day. Considered the first muckraking novel in the United States, his The Quaker City was a bestseller about city life in Philadelphia. Lippard founded the Brotherhood of the Union to “espouse the cause of the Masses, and battle against the tyrants of the Social System – against corrupt Bankers, against Land Monopolists, and against all Monied Oppressors”. The Brotherhood eventually had 40,000 members in 20 states. – 1854

Congress approved legislation allowing for a total of $940,000,000 to be used for Depression-era relief projects. $790,000,000 of this money was intended to be used to fund work relief and flood recovery programs. – 1937

U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy falsely charged that the State Department was riddled with Communists. It seemed that just about everyone else the Wisconsin senator didn’t like was a Communist as well, including scores of unionists. This was the beginning of “McCarthyism”. McCarthy ultimately was officially condemned by the Senate and died of alcoholism. – 1950

[bctt tweet=”President Kennedy asked Congress to approve the creation of the Medicare program.” username=”VoicesOfLabor”] It was financed by an increase in Social Security taxes and aided 14.2 million Americans aged 65 or older. – 1961

Boeing engineers and technical workers begin what was to become a forty-day strike over economic issues. At the time, it was the largest white-collar strike at a private company in the U.S. It ended in a victory for the 22,000 workers represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA). – 2000

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