Today's Labor History
This week’s Labor History Today podcast: “Strike for Your Life!”; labor history's lessons for the COVID-19 crisis
Peter Rachleff, co-director of the East Side Freedom Library in St. Paul, Minnesota, on how “Lessons from labor history can inform our labor movement during the COVID-19 crisis.” “As a labor historian, the closest thing I can think of to the spread of coronavirus strikes is the epidemic of sitdown strikes to spread across the country in the mid-1930s.” Historian and writer Jeremy Brecher, from “Strike for Your Life!” Also this week, we preview "Debs In Canton," a new audio/radio drama from the filmmakers of American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs.
Last week’s show: Jack Kelly’s "The Edge of Anarchy”; “Union Maids” director Julia Reichert (Part 2)
U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Samuel Gompers and other union leaders for supporting a boycott at the Buck Stove and Range Co. in St. Louis, where workers were striking for a nine-hour day. A lower court had forbidden the boycott and sentenced the unionists to prison for refusing to obey the judge’s anti-boycott injunction - 1906
The Library Employees’ Union is founded in New York City, the first union of public library workers in the United States. A major focus of the union was the inferior status of women library workers and their low salaries. Tilloah Squires is elected president, and Maud Malone (shown), who has been active in the women's suffrage movement, heads the publicity committee. - 1917 (photo courtesy Library of Congress)
The first labor bank -- the Mount Vernon Savings Bank-- opens in Washington, D.C., launched by officers of the Machinists. The Locomotive Engineers opened a bank -- the Cooperative National Bank -- in Cleveland later that year - 1920
Minneapolis general strike backs Teamsters, who are striking most of the city’s trucking companies - 1934
U.S. Supreme Court issues Mackay decision, which permits the permanent replacement of striking workers. The decision had little impact until Ronald Regan’s replacement of striking air traffic controllers (PATCO) in 1981, a move that signaled anti-union private sector employers that it was OK to do likewise - 1938
Black labor leader and peace activist A. Philip Randolph dies. He was president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and first black on the AFL-CIO executive board, and a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington - 1979
First women’s anti-slavery conference, Philadelphia - 1838
Governor of California signs a law stating that 10 hours of work should constitute a legal day's work. - 1853
Supreme Court outlaws segregation in public schools - 1954
Twelve Starbucks baristas in a mid-town 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. Management roadblocks continue to deny the workers their union to this day - 2004
- David Prosten
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