Friday, July 17, 2015

Today in Labor History

2015.07.13 history port.chicago
Two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny - 1944
July 16
Ten thousand workers strike Chicago's Int’l Harvester operations - 1919

Martial law declared in strike by longshoremen in Galveston, Texas - 1920
San Francisco Longshoreman's strike spreads, becomes 4-day general strike - 1934
July 15
Some 50,000 lumberjacks strike for 8-hour day - 1917

Ralph Gray, an African-American sharecropper and leader of the Share Croppers Union, is murdered in Camp Hill, Ala. - 1931

A half-million steelworkers begin what is to become a 116-day strike that shutters nearly every steel mill in the country. Management wanted to dump contract language limiting its ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery that would result in reduced hours or fewer employees - 1959
July 14
The Great Uprising nationwide railway strike begins in Martinsburg, W.Va., after railroad workers are hit with their second pay cut in a year. In the following days, strike riots spread through 17 states. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the strike - 1877

Woody Guthrie, writer of "This Land is Your Land" and "Union Maid," born in Okemah, Okla. - 1912

Italian immigrants and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murder and payroll robbery—unfairly, most historians agree—after a 2-month trial, and are eventually executed. Fifty years after their deaths the state's governor issued a proclamation saying they had been treated unfairly and that "any disgrace should be forever removed from their names." - 1921
2015.07.13 history news(Making the News: A Guide for Nonprofits and Activists: Sacco and Vanzetti made the news in a most unfortunate way. Today, it often seems that unions are either ignored or criticized. You can influence how your events make the news by following some of the excellent guidance offered by this easy-to-read book.)

July 13
2015.07.13 history Tenant Farmers' Union organized in Tyronza, Ark. - 1934

Detroit newspaper workers begin 19-month strike against Gannett, Knight-Ridder. The strike was to become a lockout, which lasted four years more - 1995

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