On today’s labor calendar, our guests on “Your Rights at Work” today at 1pm here on WPFW include EPI's Heidi Shierholz on the "Restoring Justice for Workers Act," POGO's Nick Schwellenbach on OSC's ominous “Guidance Regarding Political Activity,” and historian Jean-Christian Vinel, author of the acclaimed book “The Employee: A Political History.”
Then at 5:30 see Professor Vinel in person at Georgetown University, discussing “The Reaction at Work: The Right, Labor and the Making of the New Gilded Age.”
For complete details, go to dclabor.org, and click on Calendar.
Here’s Bill Fletcher with today’s labor history: On December 6, 1869, African American delegates met in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union. African Americans were excluded from existing labor unions, such as when white workers formed the National Labor Union (NLU). In 1869 several black delegates were invited to the annual meeting of the NLU, where Isaac Myers, a prominent organizer of African-American laborers, spoke eloquently for solidarity, saying that white and black workers ought to organize together for higher wages and a comfortable standard of living. However, the white unions refused to allow African Americans to join their ranks. In response, Myers met with other African-American laborers to form what became the Colored National Labor Union. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU's founding president; Frederick Douglass became president in 1872.
Today’s labor quote is by boxer and motivational speaker Sugar Ray Leonard, who said:
“I used to walk to the Washington Monument from North L Street Northwest. And I was so hungry at times, I would stop and look into the trash cans, and if there was a half a sandwich, I would take that sandwich and eat it. It was just a matter of survival. I didn't think much of it, but it was just the way things were.”
The Washington Monument was completed on this date in 1884.
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