Friday, August 31, 2012

Today in Labor History—August 31

August 31, 1909—Francisco Ferrer, the Spanish anarchist educator and creator of the first Modern Schools (Escuelas Modernas), was charged as “author in chief” of the uprising known as the “Tragic Week.” He was executed on October 13, 1909, leading to worldwide condemnation. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the protests that followed, while supporters created new Modern Schools throughout the world, including dozens in the U.S.
John Reed
August 31, 1919 – The Communist Labor Party of America was formed in Chicago by John Reed and others. The party evolved into the American Communist Party. (From the Daily Bleed)

August 31, 1929 – The Trade Union Unity League was founded by 690 delegates from 18 states fleeing the conservative American Federation of Labor. The League, a wing of the Communist Party, pushed for organizing workers along industrial lines, rather than by craft, like the AFL, with all workers in a given industry together in one big union. At its peak, the League had 125,000 members and, in 1930, led a protest of nearly a million jobless workers in a dozen cities to demand relief and unemployment insurance. The league fell apart in the late 1930s due to competition from the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), which had launched a wave of successful organizing drives. (From the Daily Bleed)

August 31, 1933 – Italian American labor organizer, Giovanni Pippan was murdered during his campaign to organize the Italian bread wagon drivers of Chicago.
(From the Daily Bleed)

August 31, 1939 – Nearly all 430 workers at the California Sanitary Canning Company participated in a massive walkout. The majority of the workers were Mexican-American women. They were demand union recognition for their affiliation with the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, & Allied Workers of America (UCAPAWA). They eventually won a union contract and wage increase. (From the Daily Bleed)

August 31, 1968 -- Canadian elementary school students near Montreal occupied their school, demanding reforms. (From the Daily Bleed)

August 31, 1980 – Solidarnosc forced the Polish dictatorship to sign a 21 point bill of rights allowing workers to organize in independent unions. The agreement came after two months of crippling strikes that began at the shipyards of Gdansk. (From the Daily Bleed)

August 31, 1983 – Polish police used tear gas and water cannons on 10,000 Solidarity demonstrators. (From the Daily Bleed)

August 31, 1991 – The second Solidarity Day demonstration occurred in Washington, D.C., with over 350,000 union members demanding workplace fairness and health care reform. The first Solidarity Day took place 10 years earlier in the wake of the PATCO firings. (From Workday Minnesota)

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