Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “unemployment”

February 20, 1908

voltairine-de-cleyres-quotes-5On their way to City Hall to demand jobs and relief, more than 1,000 unemployed workers battle with police in Philadelphia. Police arrest fourteen people and Voltairine de Cleyre – an anarchist who spoke at a rally earlier in the day – is charged with inciting to riot.

February 11, 1930

jobs-cleveland-lines-1930jpg-6da02057f6df58e52,000 unemployed workers storm the Cleveland City Hall, dispersing only when the police threaten to turn fire hoses on them. With over 4 million jobs lost within months of the Stock Market crash in late October 1929, unemployed workers took to the streets to demand work and food. Similar actions happened in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles throughout just this month alone.

January 13, 1874

ImageAs 7,000+ workers demonstrate in New York City’s Tompkins Square Park for unemployment relief, mounted police charge into the crowd, beating men, women, and children with billy clubs. Future American Federation of Labor (AFL) President Samuel Gompers, who was at the demonstration, described the police attack as “an orgy of brutality.”

August 5, 1931


Fifteen hundred jobless men storm the plant of the Fruit Growers’ Express Company in Indiana Harbor, Indiana, demanding that they be given jobs to keep them from starving.  The company responded by calling the police, who arrived with clubs and dispersed the men.  [Photo:  publicity still of Richard Barthlemass in William Wellman’s Heroes for Sale (1933).]

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