On today’s labor calendar, a major Verizon strike "Day of Action" will be held this afternoon. After picketing from 4p to 5p at the 13 & F Verizon Wireless store, strikers and their supporters will march to Lafayette Park and rally up around 6p.
The DC LaborFest continues today with a talk on the Haymarket handbills at 3p at the Library of Congress, and then at 5, Magpie and George Mann will perform a live concert at the 5th & K Busboys and Poets, which will be simulcast right here on WPFW.
There’s also a benefit for striking Verizon workers tonight at 6pm with Polyon, Psychic Subcreatures and the Chill Parents.
Full details on all these events, of course, at dclabor.org; click on calendar.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1902, two hundred sixteen miners died from an explosion and its aftermath at the Fraterville Mine in Anderson County, Tennessee. All but three of Fraterville’s adult males were killed. The mine had a reputation for fair contracts and pay—miners were represented by the United Mine Workers—and was considered safe; methane may have leaked in from a nearby mine.
In 1920, ten died in a shootout in Matewan, West Virginia, between striking union miners -- led by Police Chief Sid Hatfield -- and coal company agents.
In 1950, 31 dockworkers were killed, and 350 workers and others were injured when four barges carrying nearly 500 tons of ammunition blew up at South Amboy, New Jersey. They were loading mines that had been deemed unsafe by the Army and were being shipped to the Asian market for sale.
Today’s labor quote is by Joe Kenehan, an organizer for the United Mine Workers in the 1987 film "Matewan, played by actor Chris Cooper
“They got you fightin' white against colored, native against foreign, hollow against hollow, when you know there ain't but two sides in this world - them that work and them that don't. You work, they don't. That's all you got to know about the enemy.”