Today's Labor History
This week’s Labor History Today podcast: “The Long Deep Grudge: A Story of Big Capital, Radical Labor, and Class War in the American Heartland”
Labor historian, activist and writer Toni Gilpin's rich history detailing the bitter, deep-rooted conflict between industrial behemoth International Harvester and the uniquely radical Farm Equipment Workers union. "The Long Deep Grudge" makes clear that class warfare has been, and remains, integral to the American experience, providing up-close-and-personal and long-view perspectives from both sides of the battle lines.
PLUS: David Fernandez-Barrial, Saul Schniderman and Hazel Dickens on the Matewan Massacre.
Last week’s show: “Strike for Your Life!”; labor history’s lessons for the COVID-19 crisis
While white locomotive firemen on the Georgia Railroad strike, blacks who are hired as replacements are whipped and stoned -- not by the union men, but by white citizens outraged that blacks are being hired over whites. The Engineers union threatens to stop work because their members are being affected by the violence - 1909
Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 gives federal workers a pension - 1920
U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces the goals of his Great Society social reforms: to bring “an end to poverty and racial injustice” in America - 1964
An estimated 100,000 textile workers, including more than 10,000 children, strike in the Philadelphia area. Among the issues: 60-hour workweeks, including night hours, for the children - 1903
Ten thousand strikers at Toledo, Ohio’s Auto-Lite plant repel police who have come to break up their strike for union recognition. The next day, two strikers are killed and 15 wounded (photo) when National Guard machine gun units open fire. Two weeks later the company recognized the union and agreed to a 5 percent raise - 1934
U.S. railroad strike starts, later crushed when President Truman threatens to draft strikers – 1946
After 14 years of construction and the deaths of 27 workers, the Brooklyn Bridge over New York’s East River opens. Newspapers call it “the eighth wonder of the world” - 1883
2,300 members of the United Rubber Workers, on strike for 10 months against five Bridgestone-Firestone plants, agree to return to work without a contract. They had been fighting demands for 12-hour shifts and wage increases tied to productivity gains - 1995
Pressured by employers, striking shoemakers in Philadelphia are arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy for violating an English common law that bars schemes aimed at forcing wage increases. The strike was broken - 1805
Philip Murray is born in Scotland. He went on to emigrate to the U.S., become founder and first president of the United Steelworkers of America, and head of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) from 1940 until his death in 1952 - 1886
Two company houses occupied by non-union coal miners were blown up and destroyed during a strike against the Glendale Gas & Coal Co. in Wheeling, W. Va. – 1925
Thousands of unemployed WWI veterans arrive in Washington, D.C. to demand early payment of a bonus they had been told would get, but not until 1945. They built a shantytown near the U.S. Capitol but were burned out by U.S. troops after two months - 1932
The notorious 11-month Remington Rand strike begins. The strike spawned the "Mohawk Valley (NY) formula," described by investigators as a corporate plan to discredit union leaders, frighten the public with the threat of violence, employ thugs to beat up strikers, and other tactics. The National Labor Relations Board termed the formula "a battle plan for industrial war." - 1936
The AFL-CIO begins what is to become an unsuccessful campaign for a 35-hour workweek, with the goal of reducing unemployment. Earlier tries by organized labor for 32- or 35-hour weeks also failed - 1962
- David Prosten
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