CWA Local 2336 hosted a spirited rally honoring veterans Monday morning after a Verizon vice-president called Veteran’s Day “no big deal" when employees expressed concern about being overworked by being scheduled on this week’s holiday. “It’s disgraceful,” said Jessica Hunt, whose husband serves in the Coast Guard, and who joined the picketline of camo-clad members from area CWA locals waving American flags.
Meanwhile, negotiations continue to inch along for a new contract for the nearly 40,000 CWA and IBEW members at Verizon whose previous contract expired August 1.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1887, the Haymarket martyrs -- George Engel, Adolph Fischer, Albert Parsons, and August Spies -- were hanged, after being convicted in the bombing deaths of eight police during a Chicago labor rally for the eight-hour day. There’s evidence that most of the deaths were actually caused by police crossfire, and the trial was widely believed to have been a serious miscarriage of justice, strongly condemned by prominent people such as novelist William Dean Howells, celebrated attorney Clarence Darrow, poet and playwright Oscar Wilde and playwright George Bernard Shaw. In 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld signed pardons for the three remaining defendants, calling them victims of "hysteria, packed juries, and a biased judge." The Haymarket affair is generally considered the origin of the annual international May Day observances for workers.
Today’s labor quote is by Albert Spies --, Haymarket martyr and an organizer of the 8-hour day movement:
"If you think that by hanging us, you can stamp out the labor movement— the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil and live in want and misery—the wage slaves— if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here we will tread upon a spark, but there, and there, and behind you and in front of you, and everywhere, flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out."