Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “world war i”

February 20, 1917

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Wartime inflation fuels workers’ demands for increased wages; in the first six months of 1917 alone, there were over 3,000 strikes in the United States. Food riots were also common and on this date, thousands of women took to the streets in New York City to protest exorbitant prices. Their actions precipitated a boycott campaign that eventually forced prices down.

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June 30, 1918

tumblr_m8x3wygOgi1r4cjexo1_500Following a series of speeches in which he condemned U.S. involvement in World War I, labor leader Eugene Debs is arrested in Cleveland, Ohio, for violating the Espionage Act with the “intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States.” At his trial, Debs said, “I would oppose war if I stood alone.” He was found guilty and sentenced to ten years in prison.

October 29, 1919

October 29The International Labour Organization holds its first conference in Washington, D.C., adopting six international Labor Conventions. Created as part of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, the ILO today is made up 185 of the United Nations member states. The ILO registers complaints against entities that are violating international labor standards and policies; however, it does not impose sanctions on governments.

July 27, 1918

July 27

Coal miner and labor leader Albert “Ginger” Goodwin is shot and killed by Canadian police. Although he had been ruled unfit for military service during World War I because he had lung disease, the conscription board reversed its decision just days after Goodwin led a smelter workers’ strike for the eight-hour day. Opposed to the war, Goodwin fled and for months avoided capture by the authorities. His death inspired Canada’s first general strike on August 2 in Vancouver.

June 16, 1918

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Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, Ohio, on the relationship between capitalism and war. Ten days later he was arrested under the Espionage Act and eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail.

June 16, 1918

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Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, Ohio, on the relationship between capitalism and war. Ten days later he was arrested under the Espionage Act and eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail.

June 16, 1918

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Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, OH, on the relationship between capitalism and war.  Ten days later he was arrested under the Espionage Act and eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail.

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