This Week in Labor History 019

Bisbee Deportations

Bisbee Deportations

“The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor.” -Thomas R. Donahue, AFL-CIO

This Week in Labor History (July 10-16):

Wednesday, July 10:

14,000 Federal and State troops succeed in putting down the strike against the Pullman Palace Car Co. A total of 34 American Railway Union members were killed by troops who were requested by the company to protect profits. -1894

Jerome Deportations, Arizona. 200 men armed with rifles, pick handles attack IWW Union members, over 135 Union men were rounded up, beaten and illegally deported. Although the Bisbee Deportation is better documented, the Jerome Deportation of Union mine workers was the precursor for what was soon to follow in “the land of the free”. -1917

Thursday, July 11:

Striking coal miners in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, dynamite barracks housing Pinkerton management. National Guard and Federal troops are called out and martial law established on the 13th to protect company profits, low pay, deadly working conditions, and end the strike. -1892

First day of "Deportation" of IWW Union Miners by vigilantes from Bisbee Arizona, to the desert without food or water. Union miners and some bystanders were rounded up, beaten and illegally deported in order to protect company profits, low wages and deadly working conditions. -1917

Friday, July 12:

State militia move in to break a 12-day Labor strike against Carnegie Steel Corp. Strikers, protesting wage cuts of 26%, 7 workers were murdered by Pinkerton ("Pinks") detectives who were there to protect scabs, low wages, deadly working conditions and company profits. -1892

Final day of the vigilante deportation of striking mine workers at Bisbee, Arizona. Authorities sealed off the county and seized the local Western Union telegraph office to cut off outside communication, several thousand armed vigilantes rounded up 1,186 IWW Union members. The Miners were herded into manure-laden boxcars and dumped in the New Mexico desert. Company-hired thugs attempted to kidnap and deport IWW member Jim Brew who fought back and was shot and killed. (IWW, we never forget) -1917

Saturday, July 13:

Nurses' local 1199 go on strike in Seattle, Washington. -1989

Detroit newspaper workers begin 19-month strike against Gannett, Knight-Ridder. The strike was to become a lockout, which lasted 4 years. -1995

Sunday, July 14:

The “Great Uprising” nationwide railway strike begins in Martinsburg, W.Va., after railroad workers are hit with their second pay cut in a year, even while profits were high. In the following days the strike spread through 17 states. The next week, Federal troops were called out to force the workers back to work and end the strike. -1877

American Icon, champion of the working class, singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie born. Guthrie wrote thousands of songs including "This Land is Your Land" and "Union Maid” and “Old Man Trump” a song about how Donald Trump's father, Fred Trump, who used greed and racism to build his massive fortune. -1912

Monday, July15:

50,000 lumberjacks strike for the 8-hour day in the Pacific Northwest, led by IWW and AFL. -1917

Butte Montana: Start of the longest strike in Butte’s history (by Butte Miner’s Union #1) lasts eight and a half months. -1967

Tuesday, July 16:

During the Great Upheaval of 1877 (a General Strike that started in West Virginia, halted the railroads and spread across the U.S.) workers clash with police, militia and federal troops resulting in large riots. In Chicago, federal troops (recently returned from an Indian massacre) murdered 30 unarmed workers and wounded over 100. The U.S. was in a major depression following years of greed, corruption and wealth accumulation by a group of young Capitalists that included J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Leland Stanford and John Rockefeller. There were few successful Unions in those days and none were sanctioned by the government, making them all illegal. -1877

Butte Montana: Open pit mining resumes with 188 non-Union workers offering profit sharing instead of a Unionized workforce. Profit sharing encourages employees to join the company in lobbying against all environmental regulations, any tax increases, or anything that would affect the company profits including hiring more employees. -1986

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