Clowns at work: click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast. By definition, clowns are not to be taken seriously; their job is to clown around. Mike Funt talks about the work of clowns. Plus: Julie Greene on the Labor and Working-Class History Association, whose conference is coming up May 30-June 1.
Twelve Starbucks baristas in a midtown Manhattan store, declaring they couldn’t live on $7.75 an hour, signed cards demanding representation by the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies - 2004
Amalgamated Meat Cutters union organizers launch a campaign in the nation’s packinghouses, an effort that was to bring representation to 100,000 workers over the following two years - 1917
Big Bill Haywood, a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies), dies in exile in the Soviet Union - 1928
Atlanta transit workers, objecting to a new city requirement that they be fingerprinted as part of the employment process, go on strike. They relented and returned to work six months later - 1950
Two hundred sixteen miners die from an explosion and its aftermath at the Fraterville Mine in Anderson County, Tenn. All but three of Fraterville’s adult males were killed. The mine had a reputation for fair contracts and pay—miners were represented by the United Mine Workers—and was considered safe; methane may have leaked in from a nearby mine - 1902
Shootout in Matewan, W. Va., between striking union miners (led by Police Chief Sid Hatfield) and coal company agents. Ten died, including seven agents - 1920
William Burrus, president of the 360,000-member American Postal Workers Union from 2001-2010, dies at age 81. He is believed to be the first African American to be elected president of a national union by direct member voting - 2018