• January 15, 2021
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    Today's Labor History
    This week’s Labor History Today podcast: The Vancouver Island Coal Strike; Skyscraper Labor
    The story of the 1912 Vancouver Island Coal Strike -- the most protracted, violent and hard-fought strike in British Columbia's long labour history -- from the On The Line podcast.
    In Part 1 of her online talk for The Skyscraper Museum last November, architectural historian Joanna Merwood-Salisbury traces labor protests in the construction industry in Chicago in the 1880s and examines the formation of unions uniting trades-based groups with ethnic organizations, as well as the public spaces of their protest movements.
    And on Labor History in 2:00, Rick Smith tells us about The Rise of Settlement Houses.
    Last week’s show: Cutting along the Color Line

    December 15
    Susan B. Anthony, suffragist, abolitionist, labor activist, born in Adams, Mass. - 1820

    U.S. legislators pass the Civil Works Emergency Relief Act, providing funds for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, which funneled money to states plagued by Depression-era poverty and unemployment, and oversaw the subsequent distribution and relief efforts - 1934

    The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) expels the Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers; the Food, Tobacco & Agricultural Workers; and the United Office & Professional Workers for “Communist tendencies.” Other unions expelled for the same reason (dates uncertain): Fur and
    Leather Workers, the Farm Equipment Union, the International Longshoremen’s Union, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers - 1950

    December 16
    Leonora O’Reilly was born in New York. The daughter of Irish immigrants, she began working in a factory at 11, joined the Knights of Labor at 16, and was a volunteer investigator of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911. She was a founding member of the Woman’s Trade Union League - 1870

    Diamond Mine disaster in Braidwood, Ill. The coal mine was on a marshy tract of land with no natural drainage. Snow melted and forced a collapse on the east side of the mine, killing 74 - 1883

    Beginning of a 17-week general strike of 12,000 New York furriers, in which Jewish workers formed a coalition with Greek and African American workers and became the first union to win a five-day, 40-hour week - 1926

    Rubber Workers begin sit-down strike at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. - 1936

    December 17
    63 sit-down strikers, demanding recognition of their union, are tear gassed and driven from two Fansteel Metallurgical Corp. plants in Chicago. Two years later the U.S. Supreme Court declared sit-down strikes illegal. The tactic had been a major industrial union organizing tool - 1937

    Unions at Yale University strike in solidarity with teaching assistants - 1992

    - David Prosten

    Labor Quote: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “What good does it do to sit at the counter when you cannot afford a hamburger?”

    Dr. King was born on this date in 1929.

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