Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Today in Labor History—July 20

Robert Kett under the Oak of Reformation
July 20, 1549 – Kett's Rebellion against the enclosures began with the insurgents' refusal to disperse on this date, though they began destroying enclosures in Morley St. Botolph on July 6. The went on to attack the estate of John Flowerdew, who tried to divert the mob by bribing them to attack the estate of Robert Kett, instead. His plan backfired when Kett joined the rebels and helped them to tear down his own fences. Their 3500 strong peoples' army captured Norwich, tried landowners en masse and established a Commonwealth on Mousehold Heath. The movement gained strength, with the army growing to 16,000. It was eventually quashed and Kett refused the King's pardon, arguing: "Kings are wont to pardon wicked persons, not innocent men. We have done nothing to deserve such a pardon. We have been guilty of no crime." Kett was eventually tortured and hanged slowly over several days. (From the Daily Bleed and Wikipedia)
Maryland National Guard Sixth Regiment fighting its way through Baltimore, Maryland, 20 July 1877
 July 20 1877 – In the midst of the Great Strike, Maryland state militia fired on striking railroad workers in Baltimore, killing 50. (From the Daily Bleed)
Minneapolis Teamsters Fighting Police, 1934
 July 20, 1934 - Police shot at picketing strikers during the Minneapolis Teamsters strike without provocation, killing two and wounding 67 more, what would become known as Bloody Friday. (From Workday Minnesota and the Daily Bleed)

July 20, 1955 – The UAW (United Auto Workers) was indicted for illegal political contributions (not to be confused with the millions in legal contributions they have recently made, thus ensuring a government bailout that kept their bosses afloat, but resulted in lost jobs and lower wages for workers). (From the Daily Bleed)

July 20, 1971 – The first labor contract in the history of the federal government was signed by postal unions and the Postal Service through the collective bargaining process. (From the Daily Bleed)

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