Sunday, January 6, 2013

Today in Labor History—January 6

January 6, 1878 - Author-poet Carl Sandburg was born on this date in Galesburg, Illinois. Sandburg worked as a labor organizer, published in the International Socialist Review and later worker for the Chicago Daily News. The Feds accused him of being a Bolshevik symp, when he was actually just a working class symp. Sandburg died on July 22, 1967. (From the Daily Bleed and Workday Minnesota)

WORKING GIRLS (by Carl Sandburg)
THE working girls in the morning are going to work--
     long lines of them afoot amid the downtown stores
     and factories, thousands with little brick-shaped
     lunches wrapped in newspapers under their arms.
Each morning as I move through this river of young-
     woman life I feel a wonder about where it is all
     going, so many with a peach bloom of young years
     on them and laughter of red lips and memories in
     their eyes of dances the night before and plays and
Green and gray streams run side by side in a river and
     so here are always the others, those who have been
     over the way, the women who know each one the
     end of life's gamble for her, the meaning and the
     clew, the how and the why of the dances and the
     arms that passed around their waists and the fingers
     that played in their hair.
Faces go by written over: "I know it all, I know where
the bloom and the laughter go and I have memories,"
     and the feet of these move slower and they
     have wisdom where the others have beauty.
So the green and the gray move in the early morning
     on the downtown streets.

January 6, 1882 - The Toronto Labor Council voted to support equal pay for equal work. (From Workday Minnesota)

January 6, 1916 – A strike was called at the Youngstown Sheet & Tube plant by its 8,000 workers. On January 7, strikers were joined by their wives and other family members on the picket line. Company guards attacked the crowd with tear gas bombs and live fire killing three strikers and wounding 25 others.(From the Daily Bleed)

January 6, 1937 – The Abraham Lincoln Brigade formed to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Roughly 4,000 American men and women fought for the Republicans, most in violation of U.S. law. Nearly 2,000 of them died of wounds or disease. One of the casualties was Oliver Law, the first black man known to have commanded white U.S. troops. He led the Tom Mooney Machine-Gun Company (named for labor organizer Tom Mooney (see here,here and here), who spent years in prison on trumped up charges related to the San Francisco Preparedness Day bombing. (From the Daily Bleed)

January 6, 1970 – West Virginia miners launched a wildcat strike to protest the murder of their union reform leader Joseph "Jock" Yablonski. (From theDaily Bleed and Workday Minnesota)

January 6, 1975 – 12,000 workers struck at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa. (From the Daily Bleed)

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