Then on Sunday, don’t miss the Mother Jones Memorial Wreath-Laying at noon on Powder Mill Road in Silver Spring. The legendary labor organizer claimed May Day as her birthday and after a lifetime fighting for unions and the rights of workers, the spot where she died in what is now Adelphi, Maryland is now the site of the annual commemoration.
Also on Sunday, there will be a Mayday March and Rally starting at 2PM at Malcolm X Park, followed by a march to the White House as local activists join millions of workers across the globe as they express international solidarity.
There are a number of other LaborFest events this weekend; check out the whole line-up at dclabor.org; click on LaborFest.
And for other local labor events, just click on the calendar at dclabor.org
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1894, Coxey’s Army of unemployed civil war veterans reached Washington, D.C. Troops of vets started out from many parts of the country, and had swelled to an estimated 12,000, but the "Army of the Unemployed" lost their momentum as court injunctions prevented them from temporarily seizing railroad lines, which was how the men traveled, and there were just 500 left when they arrived in Washington.
In 1899, an estimated one thousand silver miners, angry over low wages, the firing of union members and the planting of spies in their ranks by mine owners, seized a train, loaded it with 3,000 pounds of dynamite, and blew up the mill at the Bunker Hill mine in Wardner, Idaho.
In 1943, the special representative of the National War Labor Board issued a report setting forth provisions for wage rates for women working in war industries who were asking for equal pay. Women a year earlier had demanded equal pay for comparable work as that done by men.
Today’s labor quote is by Jacob Coxey
We have come here through toil and weary marches, through storms and tempests,
over mountains, and amid the trials of poverty and distress, to lay our grievances at the doors of our National Legislature and ask them in the name of Him whose banners we bear, in the name of Him who plead for the poor and the oppressed, that they should heed the voice of despair and distress that is now coming up from every section of our country, that they should consider the conditions of the starving unemployed of our land,
and enact such laws as will give them employment, bring happier conditions to the people, and the smile of contentment to our citizens.
When Coxey tried to speak at the U.S. Capitol in 1894, police arrested him for walking on the grass. Fifty years to the day later, on May 1, 1944, Coxey finally delivered this speech from the steps of the U.S. Congress.