Friday, July 22, 2011

Today in Labor History—July 22

July 22, 1877 – A General Strike occurred in St. Louis, as part of the national Great Strike. The St. Louis strike is generally considered the first General Strike in U.S. history. It was organized by the radical Knights of Labor and the Workingman’s Party. In addition to joining in solidarity with striking rail workers, thousands in other trades came out to fight for the 8-hour day and an end to child labor. 3,000 federal troops and 5,000 deputized police (vigilantes?) ended the strike by killing at least 18 people and arresting at least 70. (From Wikipedia and the Daily Bleed)

July 22, 1886 – San Francisco brewery workers won their month-long battle with local breweries, winning free beer for workers, the closed shop, freedom to live anywhere (until now they were forced to live in the brewery itself), a 10-hour day, six-day week, and a board of arbitration. (From the Daily Bleed)
Alexander Berkman
July 22, 1892Alexander Berkman tried to assassinate Henry Clay Frick, responsible for the deaths of nine miners killed by Pinkerton thugs on July 6, during Homestead Strike. (From the Daily Bleed)
Clips from a propaganda film meant to flush out the Preparedness Day bombers
 July 22, 1916 - A bomb was set off during a pro-war “Preparedness Day” parade in San Francisco, killing 10 and injuring 40 others. Thomas J. Mooney, a labor organizer, and Warren K. Billings, a shoe worker, were convicted on flimsy evidence, but both were pardoned in 1939. Not surprisingly, only anarchists were suspected in the bombing. A few days after the bombing, they searched and seized materials from the offices of The Blast, Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman’s local paper, and threatened to arrest Berkman. (From Workday Minnesota and the Daily Bleed)

July 22, 1917 – The oil industry in Tampico, Mexico, was shut down by a successful IWW (Wobblies) action. (From the Daily Bleed)

July 22, 1920 – Police raided the Santiago, Chile, IWW headquarters. In Valparaiso, police planted dynamite in the Wobbly hall and arrested most of the IWW organizers for terrorism. The raids were in retaliation for the three-month strike that year in which the IWW tried to prevent the export of grains at a time of famine and commodities profiteering. (From the Daily Bleed)

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