Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “strike”

December 24, 1913

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At least 73 people – mostly children – die in a stampede following a false cry of “Fire!” at a Christmas Eve party held by striking mine workers for their families at the Italian Hall in Calumet, Michigan. Witnesses identified the man who stepped into the hall and shouted the alarm as a strikebreaker, but no one was held accountable for the tragedy.

December 16, 1951

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The New York Times reports on December 17 that the “metropolitan area was threatened with a bagel famine yesterday as thirty-two of the city’s thirty-four bagel bakeries remained closed in a dispute between 300 members of Local 338 of the Bagel Bakers of America, A.F.L., and the Bagel Bakers Association.” The union settled its dispute over health and welfare payments and workplace sanitation in late January.

December 15, 1921

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A protest by 500 women in Kansas that began earlier in the week – organized in support of striking mine workers and against new anti-labor legislation that forced unions into arbitration and outlawed strikes in the state – swells to 4,000, stretching a mile long. The women, dubbed the “Amazon Army” by The New York Times, disbanded upon hearing that the militia was on its way. Victory came a year later when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Kansas anti-labor laws unconstitutional.

December 13, 1971

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In South-West Africa (now Namibia), 6,000 indigenous Ovambos – required under the rule of South Africa’s apartheid government to live in tribal areas in the northern third of the country and required to have passes for movement within the country – begin a general strike to protest the contract labor system. They demanded the right to choose jobs, end contracts, bring families to work locations, a new pass system, and increased wages based on work type, not skin color.

December 3, 1946

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In Oakland, California, 130,000 workers from 142 unions – including workers from factories, industries, services, retail stores, transportation systems, and more – declare a “work holiday” and walk off their jobs in support of striking department store clerks and in opposition to police intervention that was facilitating strike breaking activity. The Oakland General Strike lasted for two days.

November 30, 2011

November 30

Public service workers in the United Kingdom join the biggest single strike since 1926, against the government’s pension reforms. About two-thirds of state schools closed, and thousands of hospital operations were postponed, as unions estimated up to two million people went on strike.

November 28, 1953

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400 photo engravers employed by New York City newspapers go on strike over wages and improved working conditions. 20,000 other newspaper workers represented by other unions refused to cross the photo engravers’ picket lines. The strike ended eleven days later with the workers receiving a $3/week wage increase.

November 25, 1946

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Teachers strike in St. Paul, Minnesota, the first organized walkout by teachers in the country. The month-long “strike for better schools” involving some 1,100 teachers — and principals — led to a number of reforms in the way schools were administered and operated.

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 18, 1929

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Viljo Rosvall and Janne Voutilainen – two Finnish-Canadian members of the Lumber Workers Industrial Union of Canada from Thunder Bay, Ontario – disappear on their way to recruit sympathetic bushworkers for a strike. Their bodies were found at Onion Lake by a union search party the following spring and the community suspected that they had been murdered by company thugs.

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