Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Today in Labor History—August 17, 1985


August 17, 1861 – Coal miners in Australia refused to accept a 20% wage cut and walk out. (From the Daily Bleed)
Striking garment workers, New York, 1909 Shirt waist strike
August- 17, 1910 – Women strikers broke through police lines and demolished a New York garment factory that tried to open in defiance of a strike. Garment workers were toiling as much as 15 hours per day for as little as 50 cents. They tossed sewing machines out the windows and smashed furniture. The industry-wide strike had begun in June and quickly spread, with 60,000 striking up and down the east coast. (From the Daily Bleed)
IWW anti-conscription poster from Australia, 1916
 August 17, 1918 – 95 Wobblies (members of the IWW—Industrial Workers of the World) were sent to prison for up to 20 years for resisting the war. (From the Daily Bleed)

August 17, 1985 – Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in Austin, Minnesota, went on strike against Hormel, makers of SPAM. They ignored the advice of their national union and struck anyway. Workers continued to strike even after the company tried to reopen the plant with replacement workers, including some union members who crossed the picket lines. After ten months the strike ended, with no gains for union members. (From Shmoop Labor History)

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