Friday, March 23, 2012

Today in Labor History—March 23

March 23, 1871 – Communes were proclaimed in Lyon and Marseilles. The Paris Commune began the day before. (From the Daily Bleed)

March 23, 1918 – 101 Wobblies (members of the Industrial Workers of the World, IWW) went on trial in Chicago for opposing World War I. They were tried for violating the Espionage Act. In September, 1917, 165 IWW leaders were arrested for conspiring to subvert the draft, and encourage desertion. Their trial lasted five months, the longest criminal trial in American history up to that time. The jury found them all guilty. The judge sentenced Big Bill Haywood and 14 others to 20 years in prison. 33 others were given 10 years each. They were also fined a total of $2,500,000. The trial virtually destroyed the IWW. Haywood jumped bail and fled to the USSR, where he remained until his death 10 years later.
(From the Daily Bleed)

March 23, 1932—The Norris-La Guardia Act  proclaimed that yellow-dog contracts requiring workers to promise not to join a union were unenforceable. The law also limited the courts' ability to issue injunctions against strikes. (From the Daily Bleed)

March 23, 1970 - President Richard Nixon declared a national emergency and ordered 30,000 troops to New York City to break the first nationwide postal strike. (From Workday Minnesota)

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