Today in Labor History August 15th

Labor History August 15th
Will Rogers

The Panama Canal opened after 33 years of construction and an estimated 22,000 worker deaths, mostly caused by malaria and yellow fever. The 51-mile canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. France began work on the canal in 1881 but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate. The United States took … Read more

Today in Labor History August 14th

Labor History August 14th
Lane Kirkland

Squatters’ riots occurred in California on this day. 500 militiamen were sent to Sacramento to quell the uprising and martial law was declared. Two squatters and three militiamen were killed, as were two bystanders. – 1850 The most successful anti-poverty program in U.S. history was created when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security … Read more

Today in Labor History August 13th

Labor History August 13th

Striking miners at Tracy City, Tennessee, captured their mines and freed 300 state convict strikebreakers. The convicts had been “leased” to mine owners by officials in an effort to make prisons self-supporting and make a few bucks for the state. The practice started in 1866 and lasted for 30 years. By 1889, the Tennessee Corrections … Read more

Today in Labor History August 11th

Labor history August 11th
Police in the Bay Area confront members of Kelly’s Industrial Army as they were forming for the long trip to Washington. More than 1000 would head out on commandeered freight trains.

Federal troop drove over 1,200 jobless workers from the nation’s capital. Led by unemployed activist Charles “Hobo” Kelley and Jacob Coxey, they camped in Washington D.C. starting in July. Kelley’s Hobo Army included a young journalist named Jack London and a young miner-cowboy named Big Bill Haywood. Frank Baun was an observer of the protest and some … Read more

Today in Labor History August 9th

Labor History August 9th

The Knights of Labor went on strike at the New York Central railroad, ultimately to be defeated by scabbing. – 1890 Nine men and one woman, custodians who saw the need to gain protections for themselves and other classified employees,  met in Oakland, Calif. to form what was to become the 230,000-member California School Employees Association, representing … Read more

Today in Labor History August 8th

Labor History August 8th
Cesar Chavez

Delegates to the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly elected 35-year-old Charles James, leader of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ local union, as their president. He was the first African-American elected to that leadership post in St. Paul, and, many believe, the first anywhere in the nation. – 1902 The Cripple Creek, Colorado miners strike … Read more

Today in Labor History August 7th

Labor History August 7th
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn – The Rebel Girl

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was born on this day in Concord, New Hampshire. Flynn was a labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Flynn was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and visible proponent of women’s rights, birth control, and women’s suffrage. She … Read more