Sunday, August 5, 2012

Today in Labor History—August 5

Chartist riot
August 5, 1842 – The "Plug Plot" riots began in England in response to high unemployment, high food prices and declining wages. There was a spontaneous strike wave of weavers and spinners culminating in a general strike. The riot got its name when the plugs were pulled out of factory boilers. The strikers were influenced by the Chartist movement, 1838-1848. (From the Daily Bleed)

August 5, 1931 - Roughly 1,500 unemployed men stormed the plant of the Fruit Growers Express Co. in Indiana Harbor, Indiana, demanding jobs to keep from starving. The company called in the city police, who routed the jobless with clubs. (From Workday Minnesota)
Public Enemy #1: Reagan declares striking air traffic controllers in violations of law
 August 5, 1981 – President Ronald Reagan fired the striking members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), declaring the work stoppage illegal. Reagan's action crushed the union and sets the tone for labor-management relations across the country for the ensuing 30 years, with employers beginning to take tougher stands against unions and increasingly relying on strikebreakers and mass firings. It also hastened the decline in union membership. (From Shmoop Labor History)

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