Sunday, May 1, 2011

Today In Labor History--May 1


May 1, International Workers Day!!!!

Mother Jones (Library of Congress)
May 1, 1830 - Mary Harris "Mother" Jones was born. Mother Jones was renowned for her militancy and fiery oration, as well as her many juicy quotes. She once said, “I’m no lady. I’m a hell-raiser.”  She also was an internationalist, saying “My address is wherever there is a fight against oppression.” Despite the difficulties of constant travel, poor living and jail, she lived to be 100.  (From Workday Minnesota and the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1866 – Beginning on this day, white Democrats and police attacked freedmen and their white allies in Memphis. By the end of the three-day race riot, 48 were killed. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1883 - Cigar makers in Cincinnati threatened to strike factory owners continued to make them pay 30 cents per month to heat their factories.   (From The Unionist)

May 1, 1884 – The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (FOTLU), forerunner of the AFL, resolved that "8 hours shall constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886." Ironically, the FOTLU, which was one of the first bureaucratized “business” unions and which was created as a conservative foil against the radical Knights of Labor, essentially contributed to the ensuing mass insurgency with its resolution. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1886 – The first nationwide General Strike for the 8-hour day occurred. 340,000 workers struck in Chicago, Milwaukee cities throughout the U.S. Four demonstrators were killed and over 200 wounded by police in Chicago. The US will set another day as Labor Day to undercut world solidarity.
(From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1888 - Nineteen machinists at the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad, angered over a wage cut, voted to form a union, which ultimately became the International Association of Machinists. (From Workday Minnesota)

May 1, 1889 – The first International Labor Day was celebrated. The U.S. decided to create its own labor day in September to undercut worker solidarity and to white wash away its violent history of repressing strikes and worker protest. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1890 – The first May Day celebration in Poland saw about 10,000 workers assemble in Warsaw. All nine organizers were arrested and sent to Russian prisons, where two of them died.
(From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1891 –The French army tested their new Lebels machine guns against peaceful May Day demonstrators that included women and children carrying flowers and palms, killing 14 and wounding 40. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1894- The cross-country march by Coxey’s Army of the Unemployed ended with in a march down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. (From Workday Minnesota. Also see Today in Labor History, April 29)

May 1, 1899 – Tzarist police arrested 3000 of the 20,000 participants in Warsaw’s May Day demonstration. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1901- The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union struck in San Francisco. They were demanding one day of rest per week, a ten-hour work day and a closed union shop for all restaurants in the city. (From The Unionist)

May 1, 1905 – 60 workers found were killed in fights with police during May Day protests in Poland.
(From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1906 – 1,200 members of the Iron Molders Union in Milwaukee struck for shorter hours and more pay. They lost the strike after two years of bitter struggle. One employer, Allis-Chalmers, spent $21,700 to hire the Burr-Herr Detective Agency, resulting in more than 200 assaults on union members, including union leader Peter Cramer, whose was killed. The agency offered one unionist 10 dollars for each striker he beat up. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 1, 1933 - The first issue of the Catholic Worker was published. The Catholic Worker was founded in New York City by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, anarchist-Catholics. The first run of the paper published 2,500 copies. By 1936, circulation had risen to 150,000. (From the Daily Bleed and Workday Minnesota)

May 1, 1938 - Congress enacted amendments to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, extending protections to the employees of state and local governments. However, these protections didn’t take effect until 1985 because of court challenges.(From The Unionist)

May 1, 2006 - Millions of immigrants, participating in a national day of mobilization, stayed home from work. Their goal was to demonstrate their economic power and demand comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration laws. It is estimated that 100,000 gathered in San Jose, California, 200,000 in New York, 400,000 each in Chicago and Los Angeles.  There were demonstrations in at least 50 cities. Despite their numbers, the country has seen a wave of increasingly repressive and racist immigration laws enacted locally in places like Arizona, Georgia, Florida. (From Workday Minnesota, The Unionist)

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