Today in Labor History

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Archive for the category “1900-1909”

March 13, 1906

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Civil rights activist and suffragist Susan B. Anthony dies at the age of 86. “Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work.”

March 8, 1908

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15,000 women workers in the needle trades take to the streets of New York City on the fifty-first anniversary of the 1857 protest by women garment workers. They demanded better working conditions, suffrage, and an end to child labor. March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day since 1910.

December 19, 1907

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An explosion in the Darr Mine in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, kills 239 coal miners, most of whom are Hungarian immigrant laborers. Some came from the nearby Naomi Mine, which had closed after at deadly explosion several weeks earlier. Only one person is thought to have survived the Darr Mine explosion. December 1907 was the deadliest month in U.S. coal mining history.

November 22, 1909

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Striking garment worker and International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union organizer Clara Lemlich delivers an impassioned speech for a general strike to support her co-workers who had gone out on strike in early November for better wages, working conditions, and hours.  The next day, 20,000 shirtwaist workers took to the streets of New York.  An estimated 30,000 workers participated in the 11-week long strike.

November 14, 1903

november 14The National Women’s Trade Union League is formed in Boston. It was organized as a coalition of working-class women, professional reformers, and women from wealthy and prominent families. Its purpose was to “assist in the organization of women wage workers into trade unions and thereby to help them secure conditions necessary for healthful and efficient work and to obtain a just reward for such work.”

September 27, 1903

Old97WreckThe Old 97 – a Southern Railway train officially known as the Fast Mail – derails near Danville, Virginia, killing eleven people, including the train’s engineer, Joseph “Steve” Broady, who many believe had been ordered to speed to make up for lost time. A number of ballads were written about the wreck, the most popular of which became an early country hit and the first million-selling record in the U.S.

August 30, 1907

moreno1U.S. labor leader and civil rights activist Luisa Moreno is born in Guatemala. Moreno was active in organizing tobacco, sugar cane, and cannery workers and founded The Spanish-Speaking Peoples Congress in 1938 to bring together all Spanish-speaking people residing in the U.S. around issues of immigration, employment, and civil rights. Targeted for her politics, Moreno was deported in 1950 when she refused to testify against International Longshore and Warehouse Union leader Harry Bridges in exchange for citizenship.

August 12, 1909

anarchy_0Workers and the Canadian Pacific Railway police engage in a protracted gun battle during a strike by 700 non-union freight handlers – immigrants from Greece and Italy – in Thunder Bay, Ontario. A federal conciliation board settled the strike, but in 1910, the Canadian Pacific Railway fired 400 of those workers.

July 8, 1905

abolishcapitalismThe founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World concludes in Chicago. Founding member William “Big Bill” Haywood addressed the convention: “This is the Continental Congress of the working-class. We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working-class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working-class from the slave bondage of capitalism.”

March 20, 1905

1576595_origThe R.B. Grover shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts, collapses and bursts into flames after its old boiler explodes and shoots up through three floors and the roof. 58 people were killed and 150 injured. The incident led to passage of a national boiler safety code.

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