This Week in Labor History 001

Wisconsin Protests - 2011

Wisconsin Protests - 2011

"American Fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the Corporatists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.” - Vice President Wallace, 1944 warning that fascism will someday rise in America

This Week in Labor History (Feb 13 – 19): Wednesday, Feb 13

First Public School in America founded, 152 years before the US Constitution was written. Public schools are 100% American and our birthright, public schools made America great. The people who fought and won the American Revolution were educated in public schools! -1635

A national 8-month strike by the Sons of Vulcan, a Union of iron forgers, ends in victory when employers agreed to a wage scale based on the price of iron bars, the first time employers recognized the Union, the first Union contract in the iron and steel industry, and one of the first Union contracts of any kind in the United States. -1865

Thursday, Feb 14

Western Federation of Miners strike for 8-hour day. The WFM was a “radical”, militant Union formed by miners from Butte, Montana, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, and Utah. -1903

Striking workers at Detroit’s newspapers, out since the previous July, offer to return to work. The offer is accepted 5 days later but the newspapers vow to retain some 1,200 scabs. A court ruling the following year ordered as many as 1,100 former strikers reinstated. -1996

Friday, Feb 15

Susan B. Anthony, Suffragist, Abolitionist, Union activist, 8-hour day advocate, born on this date. "Join the union, girls, and together say: Equal Pay for Equal Work." -1820

Signing of original 11-state master trucking agreement, involving 200,000 truckers, which forms the basis for the Teamsters Union. -1933

Saturday, Feb 16

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 5-day, 40-hour week. -1926

Thousands of Socialists battle Communists at a rally in New York's Madison Square Garden. (This will be entirely baffling to any of today's right-wingers and FOX “News” viewers) -1934

All public schools in Milwaukee and Madison are closed as teachers call in sick to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s plans to gut their collective bargaining rights. Walker gets his way and guts the Union and Wisconsin starts its economic decline and adds billions to its deficit all in the name of the magical “Free Market”. - 2011

Sunday, Feb 17

Thomas Paine's “Rights of Man”, Part II is published. The original American Patriot, Paine was known as the voice of the American Revolution, he was a champion of original Liberal American values and social safety nets in order to insure Liberty and Freedom of the People. John Adams said “Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” -1792

Legendary Labor leader “Big Bill” Haywood (IWW) and 2 others were framed and arrested for the murder of former Idaho Governor Frank Stuenenberg. Clarence Darrow successfully defended them, telling jurors, “If at the behest of this mob you should kill Bill Haywood, he is mortal, he will die, but I want to say that a million men will grab up the banner of labor where at the open grave Haywood lays it down . . .” -1906

Germany: Hermann Goering endorses Nazi terrorism after 2 weeks of Fascist violence against the Labor Unions and Union leaders. Anti-Unionism is always the hallmark of every Fascists regime throughout history, and currently. -1933

Monday, Feb 18

One of the first American Labor newspapers, The Man, is published in New York City. It cost one cent. -1834

Faced with 84-hour workweeks, 24-hour shifts and pay of 29 cents an hour, firefighters form The Int’l Association of Fire Fighters. -1918

Tuesday, Feb 19

During the Bread & Roses Strike in Lawrence, MA, 200 police drew their clubs and went after 100 unarmed peaceful women picketers, knocking them to the ground and beating many unconscious in order to protect corporate profits, low wages and deadly working conditions. Several pregnant strikers lost their babies as a result of the attack on the strikers by the supporters of wage-slavery and Capitalism. -1912

Longest ILWU (Longshoremen Union) strike ends. It produced a contract that both provided for and protected the Union’s members while allowing ports to remain competitive. On a national scale, the 1971 strike demonstrated that the American Labor movement was still alive. Even a painful 130 day strike was not enough to break the Solidarity of the ILWU. -1972

This Week in Labor History is compiled by Kevin D. Curtis