On today’s labor calendar, Kent Wong will discuss "Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation," the latest book from the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, today at noon at the AFT.
Then at 1pm, tune in to this week’s "Your Rights At Work" Call-in Radio Show here on WPFW 89.3 FM as Ed Smith and I take your calls. This week's guest will be AFL-CIO International Affairs Director Cathy Feingold, who will talk about the TPP trade deal and worker rights.
And at 7 tonight Joe Uehlein and the U-Liners celebrate the music and life of Joe Hill at the Takoma Park Busboys and Poets.
Go to dclabor.org and click on calendar for complete details.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1915, Joe Hill, labor leader and songwriter, was executed in Utah on what many believe was a framed charge of murder. Born in 1879 in Sweden, Hill sang with his family and played piano at a local cafe.
After immigrating to the U.S., he worked in a variety of jobs as he moved westward. He became an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the "Wobblies," and, borrowing popular melodies from church and Tin Pan Alley songs, Hill wrote biting songs denouncing the bosses and praising the virtues of labor solidarity. Among his best-known are “Preacher and the Slave,” “Casey Jones--the Union Scab,” “There is Power in a Union,” and “The Rebel Girl.” Hill was arrested in 1914 in Salt Lake City and charged with murder in a grocery store robbery. After being convicted in an atmosphere of anti-union hysteria, he was condemned to death despite international pleas for clemency. On November 19, 1915, Hill was executed by firing squad; thirty thousand people attended his funeral in Chicago. The IWW placed his ashes in envelopes which they sent around the world to be released to the winds on May 1, 1916. In his 2011 biography of Hill, William M. Adler uncovered never-before published documentary evidence that comes as close as one can to definitively exonerating Hill.
Today’s labor quote is by Joe Hill:
“A pamphlet, no matter how good, is never read more than once, but a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over. And I maintain that if a person can put a few common sense facts into a song and dress them up in a cloak of humor, he will succeed in reaching a great number of workers who are too unintelligent or too indifferent to read.”
Joe Hill, who said:
My will is easy to decide,
For there is nothing to divide.
My kin don't need to fuss and moan --
"Moss does not cling to a rolling stone."
My body? — Oh! — If I could choose,
I would to ashes it reduce,
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow.
Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my last and final will.
Good luck to all of you. [Joe Hill]