The current contract expires at midnight on Friday and negotiations are set for today and tomorrow. Local 22 president Chuck Clay said that “While we have made some significant progress during the last five months there are still some significant points that need resolution.” However, he added that “if there is no substantial positive movement” in this week’s talks, the local’s members have approved other options.
Here’s today’s labor history: On this date in 1830, the trial of nearly 350 agricultural laborers got underway in England. Facing land enclosures and mechanization, farm workers rioted in the autumn of 1830 in what came to be called the Swing Riots, demanding higher wages, destroying machinery, and threatening landowners.
Of the nearly 2,000 people tried and convicted, 19 were executed and over 500 deported to New South Wales and Tasmania.
Today’s labor quote is by “Captain Swing”, the name signed to threatening letters tenant farmers sent to English landowners in 1830: “Sir, This is to acquaint you that if your threshing machines are not destroyed by you directly we shall commence our labours.”
Captain Swing, who also wrote: “Sir, this is to advise you and the like of you to make your wills. You have been the Blackguard Enemies of the People on all occasions, You have not yet done as you ought.”
The mythical Captain Swing was described as a hard-working tenant farmer driven to destitution and despair by social and political change in the early nineteenth century.