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"The Labor Movement means just this: It is the last noble protest of the American people against the power of incorporated wealth." -Wendell Phillips, Abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, Women's rights, and the Labor movement

This Week in Labor History (Feb 14 – 20):

Wednesday, Feb 14:

Western Federation of Miners’ strike for 8-hour day. The WFM was a so-called “radical”, militant union formed by miners from Butte, Montana, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, and Utah. They fought for radical ideas of fair pay, the 8-hour workday, and less deadly working conditions. -1903

Striking workers at Detroit’s newspapers, out since the previous July, offer to return to work. The offer is accepted 5 days later but the newspapers vow to retain some 1,200 scabs. A court ruling the following year ordered as many as 1,100 former strikers reinstated. -1996

Thursday, Feb 15:

Susan B. Anthony, a suffragist, abolitionist, union activist, and 8-hour-day advocate was born on this date. "Join the union, girls, and together say: Equal Pay for Equal Work." -1820

Signing of original 11-state master trucking agreement, involving 200,000 truckers, which forms the basis for the Teamsters Union. -1933

Friday, Feb 16:

Beginning of a 17-week general strike of 12,000 New York furriers, in which Jewish workers formed a coalition with Greek and African American workers and became the first union to win a 5-day, 40-hour week. -1926

Thousands of Socialists battle Communists at a rally in New York's Madison Square Garden. (This would be entirely baffling to any of today's right-wingers and FOX “news” viewers due to not understanding the stark differences between the two.) -1934

All public schools in Milwaukee and Madison are closed as teachers call in sick to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s plans to gut their collective bargaining rights. Walker gets his way and guts the union and Wisconsin starts its economic decline and adds billions to its deficit all in the name of the magical “Free Market”. - 2011

Saturday, Feb 17:

Thomas Paine's “Rights of Man”, Part II is published. The original American Patriot, Paine was known as the voice of the American Revolution, he was a champion of original Liberal American values and social safety nets in order to ensure the Liberty and Freedom of the People. John Adams said, “Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” -1792

Legendary Labor leader “Big Bill” Haywood (IWW) and 2 others were framed and arrested for the murder of former Idaho Governor Frank Stuenenberg. Clarence Darrow successfully defended them, telling jurors, “If at the behest of this mob you should kill Bill Haywood, he is mortal, he will die, but I want to say that a million men will grab up the banner of labor where at the open grave Haywood lays it down . . .” -1906

Germany: Hermann Goering endorses Nazi terrorism after 2 weeks of Fascist violence against the labor unions and union leaders. Anti-unionism is always the hallmark of every fascist regime throughout history, and currently. -1933

Sunday, Feb 18:

One of the first American Labor newspapers, The Man, is published in New York City. It cost one cent. -1834

Faced with 84-hour workweeks, 24-hour shifts, and pay of 29 cents an hour, firefighters form The Int’l Association of Fire Fighters. -1918

Monday, Feb 19:

During the Bread & Roses Strike in Lawrence, MA, 200 police drew their clubs and went after 100 unarmed peaceful women picketers, knocking them to the ground and beating many unconscious in order to protect corporate profits, low wages, and deadly working conditions. Several pregnant strikers lost their babies as a result of the attack on the strikers by the supporters of wage-slavery and Capitalism. -1912

The longest ILWU (Longshoremen Union) strike ends. It produced a contract that both provided for and protected the Union’s members while allowing ports to remain competitive. On a national scale, the 1971 strike demonstrated that the American Labor movement was still alive. Even a painful 130-day strike was not enough to break the Solidarity of the ILWU. -1972

Tuesday, Feb 20:

Norway: Teacher’s Union begins successful nonviolent strike against Nazification of schools. -1942

UMWA wins the Pittston miner's strike. 98 union miners and a minister occupied a Pittston Coal plant in Carbo, Virginia, beginning a year-long strike. The company had terminated earned healthcare benefits for over 1,500 retirees, widows, and disabled miners, ended contributions to a retirement trust established in 1950, and refused to bargain in good faith. While a month-long Soviet coal strike dominated US news broadcasts, the year-long Pittston strike garnered almost no mainstream press coverage whatsoever. -1990

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