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This Week in Labor History (Jan 19-25):


"If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor." - Frank Lloyd Wright, architect, writer, educator

Wednesday, Jan 19:

Twenty strikers at the American Agricultural Chemical Co. in Roosevelt, N.J., were shot, two fatally, by factory guards in order to protect corporate profits, low wages, and deadly working conditions. The strikers had stopped an incoming train in search of scabs when the guards opened fire. -1915

3,000 members of the Filipino Federation of Labor strike the plantations of Oahu, Hawaii. Their ranks swell to 8,300 as they are joined by members of the Japanese Federation of Labor. -1920

Thursday, Jan 20:

At the height of the Red Scare, 4000 foreign-born Labor organizers and union members are falsely accused of Communism and arrested for “radical activities”, over 500 of whom are later deported from the land of the free. -1920

Hitler enacts the “Act on the Regulation of National Labor,” replacing all union collective bargaining agreements. The act read, in part, “The leader of the plant makes the decisions for the employees and laborers …..they owe him faithfulness.”  Fascist governments are ALWAYS against worker-led unions and can be identified by their strong desire to destroy unions. -1934

Friday, Jan 21:

Over 750,000 steelworkers walk out in 30 states, the largest strike in U.S. history to that time. American Capitalists used WWII as an excuse to exploit workers and keep wages low even as profits were higher than ever. -1946

600 police, sent to protect corporate profits and low wages, attack  and beat unarmed picketing longshoremen in Charleston, S.C. -2000

Saturday, Jan 22:

Indian field hands at San Juan Capistrano mission refused to work, engaging in what was probably the first farmworker strike in California. -1826

The United Mine Workers of America is founded in Columbus, Ohio, with the merger of the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Miners Union. -1890

Sunday, Jan 23:

10,000 clothing workers strike in Rochester, N.Y., for the 8-hour day, and union recognition. Mounted police charged the strikers and arrested picketers. Many were wounded over the course of the strike and one worker, 18-year-old Ida Breiman, was shot and murdered by a sweatshop contractor who was protecting profits, low wages and deadly working conditions. The strike was called off in April after manufacturers agreed not to discriminate against workers for joining a union. -1913

Joe Hill’s song “Mr. Block” first appeared in the Wobbly newspaper the “Industrial Worker”. Created by Ernest Riebe (IWW) the cartoon character “Mr. Block” owns nothing, yet he speaks and thinks from the standpoint of the millionaire, he is the personification of all that a worker should not be. Today Mr. Block would be a proud and loud supporter of President Trump and FOX "news".  -1913

Monday, Jan 24:

3,000 arrested during the first Red Scare known as the “Palmer Raids”, without cause or warrants, homes, businesses and Union offices invaded and destroyed. Led by Attorney General Palmer Federal agents rounded up large groups of falsely accused  “Communists” and “radicals” (labor organizers and union members) who were arrested and jailed without charge, thousands would be deported. -1920

The United Auto Workers (UAW) organized their first aircraft local. -1937

Tuesday, Jan 25:

The Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Association (SMWIA) is founded in Toledo, Ohio, as the Tin, Sheet Iron and Cornice Workers’ Int’l Association. -1888

The Supreme Court, protecting the Capitalists, upholds “Yellow Dog” employment contracts, which forbid membership in labor Unions. Yellow Dog contracts remained legal until 1932. -1915

This Week in Labor is compiled by Kevin D. Curtis.


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