Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1908, U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oregon state restrictions on the working hours of women, justified as necessary to protect their health. A laundry owner was fined $10 for making a female employee work more than 10 hours in a single day.
In 1912, women and children textile strikers were beaten by police in Lawrence, Massachusetts during a 63-day walkout protesting low wages and work speedups.
And in 1919, Congress passed a federal child labor tax law that imposed a 10 percent tax on companies that employed children, defined as anyone under the age of 16 working in a mine or quarry or under the age 14 in a “mill, cannery, workshop, factory, or manufacturing establishment.” The Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional three years later.
Today’s labor quote is by Mary Harris Jones, better-known as Mother Jones
“They began work at 5:30 and quit at 7 at night. Children six years old going home to lie on a straw pallet until time to resume work the next morning! I have seen the hair torn out of their heads by the machinery, their scalps torn off, and yet not a single tear was shed, while the poodle dogs were loved and caressed and carried to the seashore.”
Mother Jones was an Irish-American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer. She helped coordinate major strikes and cofounded the Industrial Workers of the World.