Click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast. On this week’s show: The R.J. Phillips Band’s "Nat Turner"; Gene Bruskin discusses his new musical play, “The Moment Was Now,” which takes place in post-civil war Baltimore in 1869, when “America almost did the right thing.” Plus an update on the fate of the Victor Arnautoff murals.
The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations is formed by Congress, during a period of great labor and social unrest. After three years, and hearing witnesses ranging from Wobblies to capitalists, it issued an 11-volume report frequently critical of capitalism. The New York Herald characterized the Commission's president, Frank P. Walsh, as "a Mother Jones in trousers" - 1912
Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, accused of murder and tried unfairly, were executed on this day. The case became an international cause and sparked demonstrations and strikes throughout the world - 1927
The Mechanics Gazette, believed to be the first U.S. labor newspaper, is published in Philadelphia, the outgrowth of a strike by Carpenters demanding a shorter, 10-hour day. The strike lost but labor journalism blossomed: within five years there were 68 labor newspapers across the country, many of them dailies - 1827
The Gatling Gun Co. – manufacturers of an early machine gun – writes to B&O Railroad Co. President John W. Garrett during a strike, urging their product be purchased to deal with the "recent riotous disturbances around the country." Says the company: "Four or five men only are required to operate (a gun), and one Gatling ... can clear a street or block and keep it clear" - 1877
United Farm Workers Union begins lettuce strike - 1970
Birth of Allan Pinkerton, whose strike-breaking detectives ("Pinks") gave us the word "fink" - 1819
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters founded at a meeting in New York City. A. Philip Randolph became the union's first organizer - 1925