Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

September 30, 1899


Mother Jones organizes the wives of striking miners in Arnot, Pennsylvania, to descend on the mine with brooms and mops and clanging pots and pans.  “I told the men to stay home with the children for a change and let the women attend to the scabs.”  The women frightened away the mules and their scab drivers and returned daily to keep watch.  The miners eventually won their strike.

September 29, 1931


On strike over union recognition, hours of work, wages, and working and living conditions, 400 coal miners march through the streets of Estevan, Saskatchewan, with their wives and children.  When they refused to disperse, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shot and killed one of the workers and a battle ensued that resulted in three men dead and a number of others seriously injured.

September 28, 1995


Dockworkers who refuse to cross a picket line are locked out and fired by their employer, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in Liverpool.  Their struggle for reinstatement lasted over two years.

September 27, 1893


The International Typographical Union strikes the Los Angeles Times and begins a boycott that runs until 1908.  In 1903, the ITU persuaded William Randolph Hearst to start a rival paper, the Los Angeles Examiner.  The ITU kept up the fight into the 1920s, but the Los Angeles Times remained non-union and anti-labor.

September 26, 1874


Sociologist and photographer Lewis Hine is born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  In 1908, Hine became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee and spent the next decade documenting child labor to help the organization’s lobbying efforts to end child labor in American industry.

September 25, 1891


Two African-American sharecroppers affiliated with the Colored Farmers’ National Alliance and Union on strike for higher wages in Lee County, Arkansas, are killed.  By the time a white mob – led by the local sheriff – put down the cotton pickers’ strike, more than a dozen people had been killed.

September 24, 1918


Today in labor history, September 24, 1918:  The Canadian government outlaws the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and other organizations.  Penalty for membership was set at five years in prison.  The ban on the IWW was lifted after World War I ended.

September 23, 1933


Owner Jay Hormel agrees to recognize the Independent Union of All Workers after workers at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minnesota, mass at the front gate and refuse to go in.  Union leader Frank Ellis stood his ground and Hormel relented, signing an agreement before the entire crowd.  [Image:  Workers on strike at Hormel a few months later.]

September 22, 1910


Seventeen-year old garment worker Hannah Shapiro leads a spontaneous walkout at a Hart, Schaffner & Marx factory in Chicago.  The strike quickly spread to other plants until it involved 40,000 garment workers across the city, protesting wages, hours, and working conditions.

September 20, 1878


Author Upton Sinclair is born in Baltimore, Maryland.  His novel, “The Jungle,” exposed the deplorable conditions in the nation’s meatpacking industry and contributed to the passage of food safety legislation.

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