Today in Labor History – April 19th

Labor History April 19th
Oklahoma City bombing

More than 6,000 furniture workers went on strike in Grand Rapids, Michigan, over hours, wages, working conditions, and the right to bargain collectively. The strike – which affected nearly all of the 60+ furniture manufacturers in the city – lasted throughout the summer, bringing much of the city to a standstill for four months. A … Read more

Today in Labor History – April 18th

Labor History April 18th
Clarence Darrow

Clarence Darrow was born. Darrow was the lawyer who defended Eugene V. Debs and the Wobblies, as well as John Scopes, the teacher who was prosecuted for teaching evolution in the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial”. – 1857 Canada’s Prime Minister Sir John Macdonald introduced the Trade Union Act to legalize unions in the country. Two days earlier, … Read more

Today in Labor History – April 16th

Labor History April 16th
Texas City explosion

Jacob Coxey was born on this date in Massillon, Ohio. Coxey, a populist businessman, proposed ending the 1893 depression by issuing Treasury notes to pay for a work-relief program. When Congress refused to pass his bill, Coxey led an “Army of the Poor” from Ohio to Washington, DC, where Coxey and his lieutenants were arrested … Read more

Today in Labor History – April 15th

Labor History April 15th

This date marks the birth of A. Philip Randolph, organizer and president of the African-American Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.  According to Randolph, “The labor movement traditionally has been the haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, and the poor”. Randolph believed in permanent social change, but not without the direct participation of … Read more

Today in Labor History – April 14th

Labor History April 14th
John Steinbeck

More than 100 Mexican and Filipino farm workers were arrested for union activities in Imperial Valley, California. Eight were convicted of “criminal syndicalism”. – 1930 It was the story of a family of Oklahoma sharecroppers who migrate to California looking for relief from the economic devastation caused by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. … Read more

Today in Labor History – April 13th

Labor History April 13th
Jimmy Hoffa

The Great Northern rail strike began in Helena, Montana, spreading to St. Paul within a few days. The strike was led by Eugene V. Debs, president of the American Railway Union, and succeeded in shutting down critical rail links, resulting in a settlement giving in to nearly all of the union’s demands. The successful strike … Read more

Today in Labor History – April 11th

Labor History April 11th
Police confront strikers during 1985 Hormel strike

Frank Norman, who had the gall to organize all citrus workers regardless of their race, was kidnapped from his home in Florida and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. – 1934 Richard Whitney, five-term president of the New York Stock Exchange, was sentenced to 5-10 years for grand larceny. – 1938 Ford Motor Company signed … Read more

Today in Labor History – April 10th

Labor History April 10th
The “Saint of Labor Day” Frances Perkins

133 people, mostly women and girls, were killed when an explosion in the loading room tore apart the Eddystone Ammunition Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, near Chester. Fifty-five of the dead were never identified. – 1917 Labor leader, community organizer, civil rights activist, and feminist Dolores Huerta was born on this date. With Cesar Chavez, she co-founded … Read more

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