Thursday, September 22, 2011

Today in Labor History—September 22

(From the New York World)
September 22, 1919 - Almost 400,000 steelworkers in 50 cities struck to protest intolerable working conditions. Union leaders believed that if they could organizer the steel workers, it would lead to a massive wave of unionization across the country. Thus began the Great Steel Strike of 1919. The bosses called upon the federal troops and crushed the strike after 3½ months, killing twenty-two people in the process. (From Workday Minnesota)
Miners arriving to join in the Battle of Blair Mountain
 September 22, 1922 – Martial law was ended in Mingo County, West Virginia, after overwhelming force by mine owners’ goons, police and U.S. troops suppressed the mining strike there. (Also see the Battle of Blair Mountain(From the Daily Bleed)

September 22, 1934 – The United Textile Workers (UTW) strike committee ordered strikers back to work, bring to an end "the greatest single industrial conflict in the history of American organized labor." However, the Southern employers continued to try to bust the textile unions and their ongoing agitation occurring along the Eastern seaboard. 10,000 National Guardsmen were mobilized in Georgia and the Carolinas, Alabama, & Mississippi, with an additional army of 15,000 armed deputies. Despite the overwhelming show of force, it is estimated that 421,000 textile workers had joined the strike, an increase of 20,000 new strikers in just one week. In response, martial law was declared in Georgia and the National Guardsmen started to arrest and jail large numbers of strikers without charge, holding them in World War I concentration camps. 13 strikers were killed and 34 strike leaders were held incommunicado. (From the Daily Bleed and Jeremy Brecher, Strike! p176)

September 22, 1935 – 400,000 coal workers went on strike. (From the Daily Bleed)

September 22, 1946 – 4,000 workers marched in Valleyfield, Quebec to protest the arrest of Medeliene Parent, a leader of the dominion textile strike. (From the Daily Bleed)

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