Today's Labor History
Click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast. On this week’s show: With the looming possibility of yet another government shutdown on Friday, labor archivist Ben Blake talks about efforts to “document the now” during the recent shutdown, and political science professor Marissa Martino Golden reveals that even with a president attempting to turn agency policy 180 degrees, most career civil servants are focused on doing their jobs. Interviews by Alan Wierdak and Patrick Dixon.
500 Japanese and 200 Mexican laborers unite to fight the labor contractor responsible for hiring at the American Beet Sugar Co. in Oxnard, Calif. They ultimately win higher wages and the right to shop at stores not owned by the company - 1903
Fifteen thousand rubber workers strike in Akron, Ohio, protesting speed-up - 1913
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones is arrested while leading a protest of conditions in West Virginia mines. She was 83 years old at the time - 1913
The Seattle General Strike ends after six days. Some 65,000 workers struck for higher pay after two years of World War I wage controls - 1919
“White Shirt Day” at UAW-represented GM plants. Union members are encouraged to wear white shirts, marking the anniversary of the 1937 sitdown strike that gave the union bargaining rights at the automaker. The mission: send a message that “blue collar” workers deserve the same respect as their management counterparts. One of the day’s traditional rules: Don’t get your shirt any dirtier than the boss gets his. The 44-day strike was won in 1937 but the tradition didn’t begin until 1948, at the suggestion of Local 598 member Bert Christenson - 1948
Some 1,300 sanitation workers begin what is to become a 64-day strike in Memphis (photo), ultimately win union recognition and wage increases. The April 4 assassination in Memphis of Martin Luther King Jr., who had been taking an active role in mass meetings and street actions, brought pressure on the city to settle the strike - 1968
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announces he will call out the National Guard, if necessary, to deal with any "unrest" among state employees in the wake of his decision take unilaterally end nearly all collective bargaining rights for the workers - 2011
Labor history courtesy Union Communication Services
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