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This Week in Labor History (June 13 – 19):

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"Let the world know that in A.D. 1886, in the State of Illinois, eight men were sentenced to death because they believed in a better future; because they had not lost their faith in the ultimate victory of liberty and justice!" - Albert Parsons, Haymarket Martyr, hung by the State fighting for YOUR 8-hour day

Wednesday, June 13:

Butte Workingmen's Union forms during a strike over a wage cut from $3.50 to $3 a day at the Alice and Lexington mines. -1878

Miner's Union Day. Butte, Montana: Bluebird Mine was the final mine to join the Union. -1887

Riot erupts at the Miner’s Union Day parade in Butte Montana. Mayor Frank Curran was pushed out of second-story window. Frustration had been growing for decades. In 1914, miners were being paid $3.50 a day, the same as in 1878, despite the fact that the price of copper had more than doubled in that same time period. -1914

Thursday, June 14:

In West Virginia, which was under martial law due to ongoing violence between striking miners and thugs hired by the mining companies, state police and vigilantes raided the Lick Creek tent colony. 47 strikers were beaten and arrested. Within a few months, much of West Virginia would be engaged in the largest civil uprising in U.S. history, as 10,000-15,000 Union coal miners battled cops and scabs. -1921

The Ku Klux Klan attacked San Pedro, Calif. IWW members during a benefit for 2 workers killed in a railroad accident. The KKK violently beat 300 Union members; kidnapped, tarred, and feathered others; destroyed the meeting hall, and scalded 2 children by holding them down and burning them with a pot of boiling coffee. (IWW, We never forget.) -1924

Friday, June 15:

Eleanor Roosevelt joins the Women's Trade Union League; a group founded almost 20 years earlier to help women workers organize for better working conditions. -1922

Battle of Century City, Los Angeles police, protecting company profits, attack 500 janitors and their supporters during a peaceful Service Employees Int’l Union demonstration against cleaning contractor ISS. The event generated public outrage that resulted in recognition of the workers' Union and spurred the creation of an annual June 15 Justice for Janitors Day. -1990

Saturday, June 16:

Susan B. Anthony arrested for voting. -1873

Railroad Union leader Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, Ohio, on the relation between capitalism and war. 10 days later he is arrested under the Espionage Act, eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison for publicly opposing war. -1918

Butte Montana: Open pit mining resumes with 188 non-Union workers. The company offered the workers profit-sharing in place of the Union. Profit-sharing is a company incentive plan that ultimately encourages the workers to fight any attempt to raise taxes on the company, hire more workers, decrease pollution, or anything that might effect company profits and the bottom line. -1986

Inacom Corp., once the world’s largest computer dealer, sends 5,100 employees an e-mail instructing them to call a toll-free phone number; when they call, a recorded message announces they have been fired. -2000

Sunday, June 17:

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones leads a rally in Philadelphia to focus public attention on children mutilated in the state's textile mills. Three weeks later the 73-year-old will lead a march to New York City to plead with President Theodore Roosevelt to help improve conditions for the children. -1903

Butte Montana: Union mine workers strike today, until November 21, 1980; their third longest strike, lasting four and a half months. -1980

Monday, June 18:

Susan B Anthony fined $100 for voting for President. -1873

The American Federation of Teachers issued a charter to the St. Paul Federation of Women Teachers Local 28, and then, one year later, the issued a charter to the men’s teachers’ local. Both locals participated in the first organized teachers’ strike in the nation, in 1946. -1918Top of Form

Tuesday, June 19:

Silk workers struck in Paterson, New Jersey. The event escalated into a riot. Silk workers, forced to live as wage slaves and die young, had struck several times in the 19th century and again, in 1913 led by the IWW. -1912

The Women’s Day Massacre in Youngstown, Ohio, when police, protecting company profits, use tear gas and clubs on women and children, including infants in their mother's arms, during a strike at Republic Steel. When the cops in Youngstown couldn't find any Union leaders to beat up, they went after women picketers who were sitting in chairs to support the strike. One Union organizer later recalled, "When I got there I thought the Great War had started over again.

Gas was flying all over the place and shots flying and flares going up and it was the first time I had ever seen anything like it in my life..." -1937

 

This Week in Labor History is compiled by Kevin D. Curtis


 

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