Special May Day edition of the Labor History Today podcast: Virtual May Day rally builds on the militancy of the past to inspire workers today. Live coverage as hundreds of thousands attend 2020 Virtual May Day Rally in the Nation’s Capital. Partial list of speakers includes John L Lewis, A. Phillip Randolph, Paul Robeson, Dolores Huerta, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Eugene Victor Debs.
Nineteen machinists working for the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad gather in a locomotive pit to decide what to do about a wage cut. They vote to form a union, which later became the International Association of Machinists - 1888
The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union strikes in San Francisco, demanding one day of rest per week, a ten-hour work day and a union shop for all restaurants in the city - 1901
Mother Jones’ 100th birthday celebrated at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md. She died six months later - 1930
New York City’s Empire State Building officially opens. Construction involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, and hundreds of Mohawk iron workers. Five workers died during construction - 1931
Congress enacts amendments to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, extending protections to the employees of state and local governments – protections which didn’t take effect until 1985 because of court challenges and regulation-writing problems - 1974
Rallies in cities across the U.S. for what organizers call “A Day Without Immigrants.” An estimated 100,000 immigrants and sympathizers gathered in San Jose, Calif., 200,000 in New York, 400,000 each in Chicago and Los Angeles. In all, there were demonstrations in at least 50 cities - 2006
- David Prosten