Today's Labor History
This week’s Labor History Today podcast: A very unusual strike
On today’s show, originally released January 6, 2019, we talk with historian Erik Loomis about frustrated workers in a very unusual place who decided to strike in a very unusual way.
Last week's show: (12/29): 100 years of the ILO
Wobblie organizer and singer Joe Hill allegedly kills two men during a grocery store hold-up in Utah. He ultimately is executed by firing squad (His last word was “Fire!”) for the crime despite much speculation that he was framed - 1914
The IWW-organized “Bread & Roses” textile strike of 32,000 women and children begins in Lawrence, Mass. It lasted 10 weeks and ended in victory. The first millworkers to walk out were Polish women who, upon collecting their pay, exclaimed that they had been cheated and promptly abandoned their looms -
Nearly two weeks into a sit-down strike at GM’s Fisher Body Plant No. 2 in Flint, MI., workers battle police when they try to prevent the strikers from receiving food deliveries from thousands of supporters on the outside. Sixteen strikers and spectators and 11 police were injured. Most of the strikers were hit by buckshot fired by police riot guns; the police were injured principally by thrown nuts, bolts, door hinges and other auto parts. The incident became known as the “Battle of the Running Bulls.” - 1936
Ford Motor Co. announces it will eliminate 35,000 jobs while discontinuing four models and closing five plants - 2002
Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson orders police to raid an open-air mass meeting of shipyard workers in an attempt to prevent a general strike. Workers were brutally beaten. The strike began the following month, with 60,000 workers walking out in solidarity with some 25,000 metal tradesmen - 1919
Pres. Roosevelt creates the National War Labor Board to mediate labor disputes during World War II. Despite the fact that 12 million of the nation’s workers were women -- to rise to 18 million by war’s end -- the panel consisted entirely of men - 1942
- David Prosten; graphic: “Lawrence,1912:The Bread and Roses Strike," by Ralph Fasanella
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