For the latest local labor calendar listings, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1821, Uriah Smith Stephens was born in Cape May, New Jersey. A tailor by trade, in 1869 he led nine Philadelphia garment workers to found the Knights of Labor.
In 1913, fighting broke out when sheriff’s deputies attempted to arrest Wobbly leader Richie “Blackie” Ford as he addressed striking field workers at the Durst Ranch in Wheatland, California. Four people died, including the local district attorney, a deputy and two workers. Despite the lack of evidence against them, Ford and another strike leader were found guilty of murder by a 12-member jury that included eight farmers.
In 1986, Florence Reece died in Knoxville, Tennesee at 86. She was a Mine Workers union activist and author of the labor song "Which Side Are You On?," written after her home was ransacked by Harlan County sheriff J.H. Blair and his thugs during a 1931 strike.
And on this date in 1981, some 15,000 air traffic controllers struck. President Reagan threatened to fire any who did not return to work within 48 hours; most stayed out, and were fired on August 5.
Today’s labor quote is by Robert Poli, president of the PATCO union of air traffic controllers when they struck in 1981 and were fired by president Reagan.
“This is total intimidation. All it’s doing is making our people tougher. We are going to stay on strike as long as it takes.”
The controllers waged a struggle that lasted months and won broad working-class support, best exemplified by the 500,000-strong Solidarity Day march in Washington on September 19, 1981. Reagan's firing of strikers gave employers a green light to attack workers and their unions. Poli died in 2014.
Today in Labor History is compiled and edited by David Prosten at Union Communication Services, at unionist.com.
Rockin’ Solidarity is performed by Joe Uehlein and the Bones of Contention; Hear more at uliners.com
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This has been Chris Garlock; see you on the line!