This week's Labor History Today podcast: Eugene Debs founds the American Railway Union and, later, is jailed for opposing war; Mark Dudzic on the founding of the U.S. Labor Party, plus the Labor History Object of the Week.
Battle of Century City, as police in Los Angeles attack some 500 janitors and their supporters during a peaceful Service Employees Int’l Union demonstration against cleaning contractor ISS. The event generated public outrage that resulted in recognition of the workers' union and spurred the creation of an annual June 15 Justice for Janitors Day - 1990
Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs speaks in Canton, Ohio, on the relation between capitalism and war. Ten days later he is arrested under the Espionage Act, eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail - 1918
Twenty-one young women and girls making cartridges for the Union Army at the Washington, D.C. arsenal during the Civil War are killed in an accidental explosion. Most of the victims were Irish immigrants. A monument was erected in the Congressional Cemetery, where 17 of the workers were buried - 1864
10,000 African-American tobacco leaf workers initiate a sit-down strike at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem, NC during the height of Jim Crow. The strikers’ refusal to work in poor conditions for little pay in a segregated environment sparked seven years of hard struggle for workplace democracy and influenced the trajectory of the civil-rights movement of the 1960s - 1943
Compiled/edited by Union Communication Services