Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1909, a fire broke out during construction of a water tunnel for the city of Chicago, burning the wooden dormitory housing the tunnel workers. While 46 survived the fire by jumping into the frigid lake and climbing onto ice floes, approximately 60 men died, 29 burned beyond recognition and the others drowned.
In 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union was founded.
On this date in 1934, the Nazis adopted the “Act on the Regulation of National Labor,” replacing independently negotiated collective agreements.
In 1961, Mickey Mantle signed a new contract with the New York Yankees making him the highest paid player in baseball: $75,000 for the entire 1961 season.
Today’s labor quote is by baseball player Curt Flood:
“Baseball as you know it now and as I knew it then was two different things. It was just pitiful. We had no association, we were making no money, and every time we went into the bosses office, we had to kind of crawl in and beg for a few dollars more. You have to understand that to know why someone would do what I did.”
Curt Flood was a St Louis Cardinals centerfielder whose challenge of baseball’s reserve clause in 1969 helped lead to the labor liberation of professional athletes.