• June 14, 2021
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    Today's Labor Quote: Bartolomeo Vanzetti

    “Never in our full life could we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for man's understanding of man as now we do by accident.”

    Vanzetti, the Italian activist and anarchist, along with Nicola Sacco, went on trial on this date in 1921; they were eventually executed as part of a government campaign against dissidents.

    TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY

    This week’s Labor History Today podcast: Passaic textile strike & LAWCHA preview. Last week’s show: Sea Shanties and the Pleasure of Work  

    May 21
    The “Little Wagner Act” is signed in Hawaii, guaranteeing pineapple and sugar workers the right to bargain collectively.  After negotiations failed a successful 79-day strike shut down 33 of the territory’s 34 plantations and brought higher wages and a 40-hour week - 1945 

    Nearly 100,000 unionized SBC Communications Inc. workers begin a four-day strike to protest the local phone giant’s latest contract offer - 2004 


    May 22
    Eugene V. Debs imprisoned in Woodstock, Ill. for role in Pullman strike - 1895 

    While white locomotive firemen on the Georgia Railroad strike, blacks who are hired as replacements are whipped and stoned -- not by the union men, but by white citizens outraged that blacks are being hired over whites.  The Engineers union threatens to stop work because their members are being affected by the violence - 1909

    Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 gives federal workers a pension - 1920 

    U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces the goals of his Great Society social reforms: to bring “an end to poverty and racial injustice” in America - 1964


    May 23
    An estimated 100,000 textile workers, including more than 10,000 children, strike in the Philadelphia area.  Among the issues: 60-hour workweeks, including night hours, for the children - 1903 

    Ten thousand strikers at Toledo, Ohio’s Auto-Lite plant repel police who have come to break up their strike for union recognition. The next day, two strikers are killed and 15 wounded when National Guard machine gun units open fire. Two weeks later the company recognized the union and agreed to a 5 percent raise - 1934 

    U.S. railroad strike starts, later crushed when President Truman threatens to draft strikers – 1946 

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