On today's labor calendar, director John Sayles will screen his film “Matewan” tonight at the AFI in Silver Spring. Based on the 1920 showdown between coal miners determined to form a union and coal company agents hired to prevent them, this is one of the classic films about American labor, starring Chris Cooper and James Earl Jones. If you can only see one film at this year’s LaborFest, this is definitely the one! It screens at 7pm at the AFI Silver Theatre. Complete details, of course, at dclabor.org, click on Calendar.
And we do have some free passes available; email me at [email protected]
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1934, a Minneapolis general strike backs the Teamsters, who are striking most of the city’s trucking companies.
In 1938, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Mackay decision, which permits the permanent replacement of striking workers. The decision had little impact until Ronald Reagan’s replacement of striking air traffic controllers in 1981, a move that signaled anti-union private sector employers that it was OK to do likewise.
And, in 1979, Black labor leader and peace activist A. Philip Randolph died. He was president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first Black on the AFL-CIO executive board, and a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.
Today’s labor quote is by Joe Kenehan, the organizer in the film “Matewan”
“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.”
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