Today's labor calendar is chock full of events celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We have complete details, as always, on our website at dclabor.org – click on Calendar -- but here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening:
The AFL-CIO is hosting its annual MLK Day of Service starting at 9am;
The annual MLK "I Have a Dream" march in Leesburg, Virginia starts at 10am;
The AFI Silver Theatre is hosting a free screening of KING: A FILMED RECORD...MONTGOMERY TO MEMPHIS starting at 11am (note that tickets are free but they’re only available at the AFI box office today starting at 10:30am and there’s a limit of four tickets per person;
And at 4pm there’s a Party for Paid Leave and Progressive Victories in DC.
Again, complete details are on our website at dclabor.org, click on Calendar
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1883, the United States Civil Service Commission was established as the Pendleton Act went into effect. The Pendleton law required certain applicants to take the civil service exam in order to be given certain jobs; it also prevented elected officials and political appointees from firing civil servants, removing civil servants from the influences of political patronage and partisan behavior.
In 1920, thousands of Palmer Raids detainees won the right to have attorney representation at deportation hearings. During a typical deportation hearing at this time, the immigration inspector acted as arresting officer, prosecutor, judge, jury, and recording clerk. A defense lawyer was not permitted to attend while the immigration inspector questioned the alien, who were non-US citizens, many of whom understood little English. The interrogation focused not only on what the alien had done and said, but also on his or her beliefs and thoughts. In one well-documented case, Gaspare Cannone was arrested without charge or warrant by Department of Justice agents in New York City. Cannone, who spoke limited English, was beaten and kicked when he refused to give evidence against other people. After being held in secret for 72 hours, agents took him to Ellis Island and turned him over to Bureau of Immigration officials. Following questioning by an immigration inspector, Cannone refused to sign a statement admitting he was an anarchist. But someone forged his signature to the statement anyway.
Today’s labor quote is from a report by a prominent group of lawyers and judges who documented dozens of cases of due process violations during the Palmer Raids. Their report concluded:
"There is no danger of revolution so great as that created by ... deliberate violations of the simple rules of American law and American decency."