Monday, March 28, 2011

Today In Labor History: March 28

March 28, 1911: Part of the anarchist Bonnot Gang was caught & killed by cops after months of bank robbing & mayhem.

March 28, 1915: Emma Goldman was arrested for giving a lecture on contraceptives. Goldman believed that knowledge of and access to contraceptives was key to women’s ability to control their own bodies and thus their social and material wellbeing.

March 28, 1918: 2,000 Canadians protested against conscription and forced police to retreat.

March 28, 1968: Martin Luther King led a march of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Police attacked the workers with mace and sticks. A 16-year old boy was shot. 280 workers were arrested. He was assassinated a few days later after speaking to the striking workers. The sanitation workers were mostly black. They worked for starvation wages under plantation like conditions, generally under racist white bosses. Workers could be fired for being one minute late or for talking back and they got no breaks. Organizing escalated in the early 1960s and reached its peak in February, 1968, when two workers were crushed to death in the back of a garbage truck.

March 28(?), 1972: A General Strike was called in Quebec to support workers locked out of La Presse newspaper. The workers went out in early April and again in May, however, some sources also give late March as the beginning of the General Strike. (Also see here and here).

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