Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1811, the largest slave revolt in U.S. history began on Louisiana sugar plantations. Slaves armed with hand tools marched toward New Orleans, setting plantations and crops on fire, building their numbers to as many as 500 as they went. The uprising lasted for two days before being brutally suppressed by the military.
Today’s the birthday of Mary Kenney O’Sullivan, the first woman organizer for the American Federation of Labor. Born on this date in 1864, she organized the Woman’s Bookbinder Union in 1880 and in 1903 was a founder of the National Women’s Trade Union League.
In 1920, the AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee ended the “Great Steel Strike.” Some 400,000 steelworkers had been striking for more than three months, demanding union recognition. The strike failed.
Today’s labor quote is by American labor historian Paul Clark:
“The only thing workers have to bargain with is their skill or their labor. Denied the right to withhold it as a last resort, they become powerless. The strike is therefore not a breakdown of collective bargaining-it is the indispensable cornerstone of that process.”