Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1896, ironworkers from six cities met in Pittsburgh to form the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers of America.
In 1904 it took more than a thousand firefighters 30 hours to put down The Great Baltimore Fire, which started on this day and destroyed 1,500 buildings over an area of some 140 acres.
In 1910, Philadelphia shirtwaist makers voted to accept an arbitration offer and end their walkout as the Triangle Shirtwaist strike wound down. One year later 146 workers, mostly young girls aged 13 to 23, were to die in a devastating fire at Triangle’s New York City sweatshop.
On this date in 1919, the Seattle General Strike began. The city was run by a General Strike Committee for six days as tens of thousands of union members stopped work in support of 32,000 striking longshoremen.
Today’s labor quote is from a pamphlet circulated in Seattle during the 1919 general strike:
“You are doomed to wage slavery till you die unless you wake up, realize that you and the boss have nothing in common, that the employing class must be overthrown, and that you, the workers, must take over the control of your jobs, and through them, the control over your lives instead of offering yourself up to the masters as a sacrifice six days a week, so that they may coin profits out of your sweat and toil.”