Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “chicago”

January 17, 1915


Organized and led by radical labor organizer, Lucy Parsons, more than 1,500 people march in Chicago, demanding relief from hunger and high levels of unemployment in the city. Parsons was described by the Chicago Police Department as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.”

November 11, 1887

But, if you think that by hanging us, you can stamp out the labor movement - the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil and live in want and misery - the wage slaves - expect salvation - if this is your opin (1)Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel, and Adolph Fischer, framed for the Haymarket bombing in Chicago, are executed. Spies’ last words — “The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today” — are engraved on the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument in Chicago’s Forest Home Cemetery.

June 25, 1893

June 25The Haymarket Martyrs Monument is dedicated at Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, to honor those framed and executed for the bombing at Chicago’s Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886. More than 8,000 people attended the dedication ceremony. At the base of the monument are the last words of Haymarket martyr August Spies: “The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today.”

January 31, 1992

Photo of 1 year old's drive dug and dead deer in Monroe, GA.160 gravediggers represented by SEIU Local 106 – locked out after they went on strike against the Cemeteries Association of Greater Chicago over wages and benefits – reach a contract agreement after 43 days.

December 22, 1910

Chicago_Fire_Department_The_Fallen_21_MemorialA fire breaks out in the basement of the Nelson Morris and Co. meatpacking plant in Chicago’s Union Stockyards. Highly flammable chemicals used for meat production and grease soaked wood made conditions ripe for fires in stockyards. Twenty-one firefighters, including the chief, were killed when one of the blazing buildings collapsed with them inside. It was the single greatest loss of professional big-city firefighters in U.S. history until September 11, 2001.

September 3, 1928


Being pushed into obsolescence by owners intent on replacing live music with recorded sound, 700 movie theater musicians in Chicago go on strike. The action was part of a nationwide wave of protest by the American Federation of Musicians, but by the end of the year, nearly 2,600 theater musicians were unemployed across the country.

April 6, 1905


Teamsters in Chicago begin a sympathy strike in support of locked out Montgomery Ward & Co. workers who were on strike to protest the company’s use of nonunion subcontractors. When other businesses rallied to the company’s defense, the dispute spread quickly. Workers battled strikebreakers, police, and scabs for 105 days; 21 people died.

January 20, 1909


A mile and a half offshore on Lake Michigan, fire breaks out in a temporary water crib used to access an intermediate point along a water intake tunnel under construction for the city of Chicago. The fire spread to the wooden dormitory that housed the tunnel workers. 46 workers survived the fire by jumping into the lake and climbing onto ice floes and 60 men died in the fire or were drowned trying to escape.

October 9, 2003


3,300 workers at seventeen private sanitation companies in Chicago end their nine-day strike after winning a 28% increase in wages and benefits over the next five years.

October 8, 1871


The Great Chicago Fire begins, a fire that would burn through the early morning hours of October 10.  The fire injured 30 of the city’s 185 firefighters, claimed the lives of hundreds of people, left nearly a third of the city homeless, and destroyed almost 20,000 buildings.

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