Friday, September 30, 2011

Today in Labor History—September 30

September 30, 1885 – The Knights of Labor won their strike on the Wabash Railroad. (from the Daily Bleed)
Public Enemy #1 in 1892, Henry Clay Frick, Responsible for the Homestead Massacre

September 30, 1892
– Strike leaders were prosecuted for the crime of treason for the first time in U.S. history. Henry C. Frick, chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company, convinced the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to issue warrants for the arrests of every member of the advisory board of the striking steel union for treason against the state. The 29 strike leaders were ultimately charged with plotting "to incite insurrection, rebellion & war against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." (from the Daily Bleed)
Illustration from the Industrial Worker, 1911
 September 30, 1909 -- The "Industrial Worker," mouthpiece of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), issued its first call for footloose hoboes and Wobblies to hop the freights for Missoula, to join in the free speech fight taking place there. From 1907-1917 the IWW carried out more than 30 Free Speech fights across the US, generally to demand the right to organize workers in public places and to agitate from street corners. As police arrested one Wobbly for public speaking, another would take his or her place, resulting in thousands of arrests, as well as mass beatings by vigilantes. However, their civil disobedience often succeeded in clogging the jails and court systems to the point that cities were forced to back down and allow public speaking and agitation.  (from the Daily Bleed)
Militiamen Surround Peaceful Textile Strikers, Lawrence, 1912
 September 30, 1912 – The Lawrence, Massachusetts “Bread and Roses” textile strike was in full swing. On this date, 12,000 textile workers walked out of mills to protest the arrests of two leaders of the strike. Police clubbed strikers and arrested many, while the bosses fired 1,500. IWW co-founder Big Bill Haywood threatened another general strike to get the workers reinstated. Strike leaders Arturo Giovannitti and Joe Ettor were eventually acquitted 58 days later. (From Workday Minnesota)

September 30, 1916 – IWW headquarters were raided in Australia and union leaders were arrested because of their opposition to World War I. In December, seven Wobblies were sentenced to 15 years in prison for anti-war activism. Others received five and ten year sentences. In August, 1917, the IWW was made illegal. Nevertheless, the IWW still helped lead the General Strike of 1917. (from the Daily Bleed)

September 30, 1962 -- The National Farm Workers Association (predecessor to the United Farm Workers) was created during a convention called by Cesar Chavez in Fresno, California. (from the Daily Bleed)

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