Monday, May 21, 2012

Today in Labor History—May 21

May 21, 1856 – The first eight hour working day was achieved by stonemasons in Victoria, Australia. (From the Daily Bleed)
Barricade, Édouard Manet, 1871
 May 21, 1871 – The Bloody Week, a savage orgy of repression and violence, was launched against the Paris Commune. The French government’s massacres and summary executions resulted in 20,000 to 35,000 civilian deaths. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 21, 1934 – The Minneapolis General Strike by Teamsters Union on May 21, 1934, with a pitched battle between striking teamsters and business goons. (From the Daily Bleed)
Street battle between striking teamsters and cops, Minneapolis, 1934
May 21, 1945 – The "Little Wagner Act" was signed in Hawaii (still an American colony), guaranteeing collective bargaining rights for pineapple and sugar workers. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 21, 1946 – The U.S. government seized control of the nation’s coal mines in order to maintain production during a nationwide coal strike. Despite the government’s actions, miners continued to strike, forcing the government to concede to many of their demands, concessions that even the mine owners refused to grant. Miners struck again in November, in violation of a federal injunction, resulting in a $3.5 million fine. (From Workday Minnesota and the Daily Bleed)

Rioters outside City Hall, S.F. (Image by Daniel Nicoletta)
May 21, 1965 – Clashes between striking mine workers in Bolivia and federal troops resulted in 48 deaths. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 21, 1979 – White Night riots occurred in San Francisco, California, in protest of the hand slap given to former city supervisor, Dan White, for murdering the city’s first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, and mayor George Moscone. White was determined to be temporarily insane from having eaten too much junk food. A similar defense has failed repeatedly to get students excused from exams or school detentions. (From the Daily Bleed)

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