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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Today in Labor History

May 04
Haymarket massacre. A bomb is thrown as Chicago police start to break up a rally for strikers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. A riot erupts, 11 police and strikers die, mostly from gunfire, and scores more are injured - 1886

May 05
National Typographical Union founded, Cincinnati, Ohio. It was renamed the International Typographical Union in 1869, in acknowledgment of Canadian members. When the ITU merged into CWA in 1986 it was the oldest existing union in the U.S. - 1852

On Chicago’s West Side, police attack Jewish workers as they try to march into the Loop to protest slum conditions - 1886

Some 14,000 building trades workers and laborers, demanding an eight-hour work day, gather at the Milwaukee Iron Co. rolling mill in Bay View, Wisc. When they approach the mill they are fired on by 250 National Guardsmen under orders from the governor to shoot to kill. Seven die, including 13-year-old boy - 1886

Nineteen machinists working for the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad gather in a locomotive pit to decide what to do about a wage cut. They vote to form a union, which later became the International Association of Machinists - 1888

Italian-American anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are arrested in Boston for murder and payroll robbery. Eventually they are executed for a crime most believe they did not commit - 1920

Heavily armed deputies and other mineowner hirelings attack striking miners in Harlan County, Ky., starting the Battle of Harlan County - 1931

John J. Sweeney, president of the Service Employees Intl. Union from 1980 to 1995, then president of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009, born in The Bronx, N.Y. - 1934

Lumber strike begins in Pacific Northwest, will involve 40,000 workers by the time victory is achieved after 13 weeks: union recognition, a 50 cent per hour minimum wage and an eight-hour day - 1937

The U.S. unemployment rate drops to a 30-year low of 3.9 percent; the rate for blacks and Hispanics is the lowest ever since the government started tracking such data - 2000



 SOURCE: Union Communications Services, Inc.

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