The packed audience at Tuesday night's 30th anniversary screening of the labor classic "Matewan" gave director John Sayles an extended standing ovation as he accepted the Tony Mazzocchi Labor Arts Award, named after the co-founder -- with Jos Williams -- of the 17-year-old DC Labor FilmFest, which anchors the DC LaborFest, now in its fourth year.
"What I was able to get into the film is that the process of working people organizing, the process of creating a union with a small 'u,' has been really, really important culturally to this country," said Sayles.
"What it gets to is the concept of 'we.' Employers throughout history have tried to separate people...it might be race, it might be ethnicity, it might be religion, it might be sex; they've always used that as a tool against working people. What I've seen over the years is that the most successful unions are the ones with the widest definition of 'we.'"
Read the rest of our story and see photos, at dclabor.org
On today's labor calendar,
It’s open phones for your calls today on Union City Radio’s Your Rights at Work from 1 to 2pm,
then at 5pm there’s a NoVA YELL Social hour before the monthly meeting of NoVA Labor, both in Annandale,
and don’t miss the DC LaborFest’s first Labor 411 Union Beer and Whiskey Tasting tonight at 5:30 at the Phoenix Park Hotel.
Complete details at dclabor.org, click on calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1912, in what may have been baseball’s first labor strike, the Detroit Tigers refused to play after team leader Ty Cobb was suspended: he had gone into the stands and beat a fan who had been heckling him. Cobb was reinstated and the Tigers went back to work after the team manager’s failed attempt to replace the players with a local college team: their pitcher gave up 24 runs.
In 1917, the Amalgamated Meat Cutters union organizers launched a campaign in the nation’s packinghouses, an effort that was to bring representation to 100,000 workers over the following two years.
In 1928, Big Bill Haywood, a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World, died in exile in the Soviet Union.
And in 1950, Atlanta transit workers, objecting to a new city requirement that they be fingerprinted as part of the employment process, went out on strike.
Today’s labor quote is by "Big Bill" Haywood, who said
“Every dollar that the boss did not work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn't get it.”
William Dudley "Big Bill" Haywood, who said
“I haven't read Marx's Capital but I've got the marks of capital all over my body.”
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