Today's Labor History
On this week's Labor History Today podcast: John Sayles on “Matewan,” “Yellow Earth” and more
Writer, actor, and filmmaker John Sayles talks about his latest novel, “Yellow Earth,” and about his classic labor films Matewan and Eight Men Out. Plus, a reading from “Yellow Earth.” Also this week, Saul Schniderman on the arrest of Mother Jones while leading a protest of conditions in West Virginia mines, and Jacob Feinspan remembers the 1926 general strike by New York furriers.
Last week's show: Sisters, rebels and social justice in the Jim Crow South. photo by Bruce Guthrie
Western Federation of Miners strike for 8-hour day - 1903
Jimmy Hoffa born in Brazil, Indiana, son of a coal miner. Disappeared July 30, 1975, declared dead seven years later – 1913
Striking workers at Detroit’s newspapers, out since the previous July, offer to return to work. The offer is accepted five days later but the newspapers vow to retain some 1,200 scabs. A court ruling the following year ordered as many as 1,100 former strikers reinstated - 1996
U.S. legislators pass the Civil Works Emergency Relief Act, providing funds for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, which funneled money to states plagued by Depression-era poverty and unemployment, and oversaw the subsequent distribution and relief efforts - 1934
The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) expels the Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers; the Food, Tobacco & Agricultural Workers; and the United Office & Professional Workers for “Communist tendencies.” Other unions expelled for the same reason (dates uncertain): Fur and Leather Workers, the Farm Equipment Union, the International Longshoremen’s Union, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers - 1950
Leonora O’Reilly was born in New York. The daughter of Irish immigrants, she began working in a factory at 11, joined the Knights of Labor at 16, and was a volunteer investigator of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911. She was a founding member of the Woman’s Trade Union League - 1870
Diamond Mine disaster in Braidwood, Ill. The coal mine was on a marshy tract of land with no natural drainage. Snow melted and forced a collapse on the east side of the mine, killing 74 - 1883
Beginning of a 17-week general strike of 12,000 New York furriers, in which Jewish workers formed a coalition with Greek and African American workers and became the first union to win a five-day, 40-hour week - 1926
- David Prosten
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