Thursday, May 03, 2012

Today in Labor History

May 02 
Chicago's first Trades Assembly, formed three years earlier, sponsors a general strike by thousands of workers to enforce the state's new eight hour day law. The one-week strike was unsuccessful - 1867

Birth of Richard Trevellick, a ship carpenter, founder of American National Labor Union and later head of the National Labor Congress, America’s first national labor organization - 1830

First Workers’ Compensation law in U.S. enacted, in Wisconsin - 1911

Pres. Herbert Hoover declares that the stock market crash six months earlier was just a "temporary setback" and the economy would soon bounce back. In fact the Great Depresssion was to continue and worsen for several more years - 1930

In Germany, Adolph Hitler issues an edict abolishing all labor unions, part of his effort to ban any political opposition - 1933

May 03
Four striking workers are killed, at least 200 wounded, when police attack a demonstration on Chicago’s south side at the McCormick Harvesting Machine plant. The Haymarket Massacre is to take place the following day - 1886

Eugene V. Debs and other leaders of the American Railway Union are jailed for six months for contempt of court in connection with Pullman railroad car strike - 1895
[The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs is hands-down the best, most readable biography ever of Debs, a great man and great leader, the most eloquent spokesperson and leader ever of the U.S. labor and socialist movements. The Bending Cross had been out of print but has been reissued, with a new introduction by Mike Davis, a widely published historian and social commentator. In the UCS bookstore now.]

Pete Seeger, folksinger and union activist, born in Patterson, N.Y. Among his songs: “If I Had A Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” - 1919

 SOURCE: Union Communications Services, Inc.

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