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This Week in Labor History June 19 – 25

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"This week" from Kevin Curtis

Labor Unions are the leading force for Democratization and progress.” -Noam Chomsky, MIT Professor, cognitive scientist, logician, social justice activist, IWW member

Wednesday, 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, 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

Thursday, June 20:

Birth of Albert Parsons, Haymarket Martyr. Falsely convicted and hanged by the government November 11, 1887 (aged 39) he was killed by the state because of his support of the working class and the 8-hour day. -1848

The American Railway Union, headed by Eugene Debs, is founded in Chicago. One of the early Unions to organize by industry regardless of race or ethnicity which also included the Knights of Labor and IWW. -1893

Butte, Montana: Police shot 14 IWW Union members during a labor clash. -1920

Butte, Montana: Newspaper strike stops publication of The Butte Miner, Anaconda Standard, and Butte Daily Post through July 4. -1927

Friday, June 21:

10 miners accused of being militant "Molly Maguires" are hanged in Pennsylvania. A private corporation initiated the investigation of the 10 through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. "The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows," a judge said many years after the men had been murdered for the cause of Capitalism. -1877

100,000 Union members and supporters march in Solidarity with striking Detroit News and Detroit Free Press newspaper workers. -1997

 

Saturday, June 22:

Violence erupts during a coal-mine strike at Herrin, Illinois. Striking United Mine Workers clash with strikebreakers. 36 workers killed, 22 of them non-Union strikebreakers. Those accused of the killings are tried and acquitted. -1922

The Cuyahoga River catches fire just downstream from Cleveland, Ohio and burns for 20 minutes, damages 2 railroad bridges. Yet another example of unregulated “Free-Market” Capitalism - before the creation of the EPA. -1969

Sunday, June 23:

Butte Montana: Miner's Union Hall is demolished with dynamite. Charles Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, goes to Butte in an attempt to mediate a conflict between factions of the miner’s local. It didn't go well. Gunfight in the Union hall killed one man; Moyer and other Union officers left the building, which was then leveled in a dynamite blast. -1914

Congress overrides President Harry Truman's veto of the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act. Promoted by large business lobbies the law was a gift to the corporate interest intended to demobilize the growing Democratic American Labor movement and weaken Unions which had grown to represent 25 percent of the post WWII workforce. -1947

 

Monday, June 24:

Troops arrested 22 WFM Union members in Telluride, Colorado, accused them of being strike leaders and illegally “deported” them at gun point. This was a repeat of events in March, in which 60 Union miners were deported. -1904

Emma Goldman lectures in Butte, Montana. -1912

IWW Domestic Workers (Maids) Union reports they are supplying sandwiches to dozens of WWI draft resistors in the Duluth, Minnesota jail. -1917

 

Tuesday, June 25:

10,000 people attend the dedication ceremony for The Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Chicago honoring the men who, while fighting for the 8-hour day, were framed and executed by the state for a bomb thrown, most now believe by Pinkertons, during a pro-8-hour day rally at Haymarket Square. (Never forget people died for the 8-hour work day). -1893

Decatur, Ill., police, protecting company profits, tear-gas workers at A.E. Staley plant gate one year into the company's two-and-a-half-year lockout of Paperworkers Local 7837. ("Tear Gas: the most effective agent used by employers to persuade their employees that the interests of Capital and Labor are identical." -T-Bone Slim) -1994

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



 

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