Today's Labor History
Click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast. On this week’s show, labor historian Jean-Christian Vinel, author of “The Employee: A Political History,” and Lane Windham on the Willmar 8.
Powered by children seven to 12 years old working dawn to dusk, Samuel Slater’s thread-spinning factory goes into production in Pawtucket, R.I., launching the Industrial Revolution in America. By 1830, 55 percent of the mill workers in the state were youngsters, many working for less than $1 per week – 1790
A group of building trades unions from the Midwest meet in St. Louis to form the National Building Trades Council. The Council disbanded after several years of political and jurisdictional differences - 1897
Twenty-one Chicago firefighters, including the chief, died when a building collapsed as they were fighting a huge blaze at the Union Stock Yards. By the time the fire was extinguished, 26 hours after the first alarm, 50 engine companies and seven hook-and-ladder companies had been called to the scene. Until September 11, 2001, it was the deadliest building collapse in American history in terms of firefighter fatalities - 1910
Amid a widespread strike for union recognition by 395,000 steelworkers, approximately 250 alleged “anarchists,” “communists,” and “labor agitators” were deported to Russia, marking the beginning of the so-called “Red Scare” - 1919
AFL officers are found in contempt of court for urging a labor boycott of Buck's Stove and Range Co. in St Louis, where the Metal Polishers were striking for a 9-hour day - 1908
Construction workers top out the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 1,368 feet, making it the tallest building in the world - 1970
Walmart Stores Inc., the nation's largest employer, with 1.4 million "associates," agrees to settle 63 wage and hour suits across the U.S., for a grand total of between $352 million and $640 million. It was accused of failure to pay overtime, requiring off-the-clock work, and failure to provide required meal and rest breaks - 2008
photo by Lewis Hine
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