Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. "Labor Day" was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City.
In 1887, Oregon was the first state to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty states in the United States officially celebrated Labor Day.
On today’s labor calendar, tune in from 9a to noon today as Bill Fletcher and host our second annual Labor Day special right here in WPFW.
We'll take a look at the labor movement in Tunisia, visit with Hardball Press publisher Tim Sheard and IBEW Local 1245 organizing director Fred Ross. We'll also talk with Brandon Weber, author of "Class War, USA" and with actor Danny Glover about the terrific new movie “Sorry To Bother You.”
That’s the second annual Labor Day special, 9am to noon today, right here on WPFW. Hope you can join us!
In today's labor history,
on this date in 1891, African-American cotton pickers organized and struck in Lee County, Texas against miserably low wages and other injustices, including a growers’ arrangement with local law enforcement to round up blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations. Over the course of the month, a white mob put down the strike, killing 15 strikers in the process.
Today’s labor quote is by Hamlet Police Lieutenant Wayne Downer, one of the first people on the scene at the fire that broke out on this date in 1991 at the Imperial Poultry processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina. Of the 25 who died in the fire, 12 were African-American and 18 were women, many of whom were single mothers.
Managers had locked fire doors to prevent the theft of chicken nuggets. The plant had operated for 11 years without a single safety inspection.
Hamlet Police Lieutenant Wayne Downer, who said:
"You couldn't tell if the bodies were black or white, because everybody was black from the smoke."