Today in Labor History November 8th

Dorothy Day

20,000 black and white workers launched a General Strike in New Orleans. In the wake of the streetcar drivers’ labor victory earlier in the year in which they won a closed shop and shorter workday, a massive organizing campaign led to the creation of dozens of new unions and greater demands from the city’s workers. On October 24, several thousand members of the Triple Alliance (teamsters, scalesmen and packers) struck for overtime pay and the 10-hour day. Many members of the Alliance were African American. The bosses used race-baiting to try to divide the workers, but failed. Members of other unions started to join in solidarity, leading to a General Strike on November 8. The strike successfully bled the banks of half of their pre-strike holdings. Finally the bosses agreed to sit down with both black and white union leaders and agreed to the 10-hour day and overtime pay, but not a universal closed union shop. – 1892

20,000 black and white workers launch a General Strike in New Orleans, Catholic Workers co-founder Dorothy Day was born, FDR announced plans for the Civil Works Administration and students at San Francisco State College went on… Click To Tweet

Catholic Workers co-founder and leader, Dorothy Day was born on this date. The Catholic Worker movement was founded in 1933 by Day along with Peter Maurin, a Catholic social activist, combining a spiritual vision of social justice with trade unionism and other activism. Day was considered an anarchist to by anarchist. Catholic Workers houses still exist throughout the country, providing hospice care, housing for activists, and support for various movements. – 1897

President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced plans for the Civil Works Administration to create four million additional jobs for the Depression-era unemployed. The workers ultimately laid 12 million feet of sewer pipe and built or made substantial improvements to 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, 3,700 playgrounds, and nearly 1,000 airports (not to mention 250,000 outhouses still badly needed in rural America). It cost $200 million a month and gave jobs to four million people. – 1933

Students at San Francisco State College went on strike, leading to what would become the longest student strike in U.S. history. The strike was led by the Black Student Union and a coalition of other student groups known as the Third World Liberation Front. The strike began on November 6, 1968 and lasted until March 20, 1969. Throughout the strike, activists were violently attacked by the San Francisco Police. The activists were demanding equal access to public higher education, more senior faculty of color and a new curriculum that would embrace the history and culture of all people including ethnic minorities. One of their victories was the creation of the College of Ethnic Studies in 1969, inspiring similar programs at hundreds of other universities. – 1968

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