- Category: City Desk
PNS - Thursday, February 2, 2023 - Palestinian advocates praise a new fact sheet on discrimination, Pennsylvania considers extending deadlines for abuse claims, and North Dakota's corporate farming debate affects landowners and tribes.
- Category: City Desk
“The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all…The country is governed for the richest, for the Corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of Labor.” -Helen Keller, American icon, Social Justice Activist, IWW member
This Week in Labor History February 1 – 7
Wednesday, Feb 1:
Led by 23-year-old Kate Mullaney the Collar Laundry Union forms in Troy, N.Y. and raises earnings for female laundry workers from $2 to $4 a week. -1864
Over 25,000 Paterson, N.J., silk workers strike for 8-hour workday and less deadly working conditions. Eighteen hundred were arrested and many were beaten over the course of the six-month walkout. They returned to work on their employers’ terms. -1913
Thursday, Feb 2:
16,000 silk workers in Paterson, NJ and 32,000 in Lawrence, Mass. strike for shorter work weeks with no cuts in pay. -1919
The 170-day lockout (although management called it a strike) of 22,000 steelworkers by USX Corp. ends with a pay cut but greater job security. It was the longest work stoppage in the history of the U.S. steel industry. -1987
Friday, Feb 3:
32,000 textile mill workers were actively involved in the “Bread & Roses” strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The IWW led strike began last month and continued for over nine weeks. Strikers were killed by cops and company goons. Many, including Annie Welzenbach and her two teenage sisters, were dragged from their beds and beaten in the middle of the night. Over 200 police, protecting corporate profits, deadly working conditions and low wages attacked thousands of peaceful unarmed striking women with clubs. -1912
U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Wages and Hours (later Fair Labor Standards) Act banning child labor and establishing the 40-hour work week. -1941
Saturday, Feb 4:
The legendary American labor leader "Big Bill" Haywood born in Salt Lake City, Utah: Leader of the Western Federation of Miners - Butte MT and co-founder of the IWW. -1869
Thirty-seven thousand maritime workers on the West Coast strike for wage increases. -1937
Senator Joseph McCarthy (R, WI) begins a speaking tour denouncing the Democratic Party's “20 years of treason”. McCarthy was the key figure in the hysteria known as the "Red Scare" that engulfed the U.S. and needlessly destroyed thousands of lives using “McCarthyism.” By December the self-serving McCarthy was condemned by the Senate for bringing the Senate into “dishonor and disrepute, for obstructing the constitutional processes of the Senate, and impairing its dignity”. McCarthy will forever be known as the embarrassment and shame of the country; he died of alcoholism at the age of 48. -1954
Sunday, Feb 5:
First daily U.S. Labor newspaper, N.Y. Daily Sentinel, begins publication. -1830.
President Bill Clinton signs the Family and Medical Leave Act. The law requires most employers of 50 or more workers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a family or medical emergency. -1993
Circuit City fires 3,900 experienced salespeople because they're “making too much in commissions”. Sales instantly plummeted. Six years later it declares bankruptcy. -2003
Monday, Feb 6:
Philadelphia shirtwaist makers vote to accept arbitration offer and end walkout as the Triangle Shirtwaist strike winds down. The Boss’s won and the workers' demands for adequate unlocked fire escapes and unlocked exits to the street were lost. One year later 146 workers, mostly young girls aged 13 to 23, were to die in a devastating fire at Triangle's New York City sweatshop (they were locked in and had no fire escapes). -1910
Seattle General Strike begins. The city was run by a General Strike Committee for six days as tens of thousands of union members stopped work in support of 32,000 striking Longshoremen. -1919
Butte miners’ strike over cuts in wages. The governor breaks the strike by calling in the U.S. Infantry, who on February 10th bayonet nine peaceful striking workers in order to protect massive company profits, low pay and deadly working conditions. -1919
Tuesday, Feb 7:
Union miners in Cripple Creek, Colo., begin what is to become a five-month strike that started when mine owners cut wages to $2.50 a day, from $3. The state militia was called out in support of the strikers - the only time in U.S. history that a militia was directed to side with the workers. The strike ended in victory for the union. -1894
13 workers are killed, 42 injured in a dust explosion at an Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia. Investigators found that the company had been aware of dangers for years but had not acted on them in order to maximize shareholder profits. -2008
This Week in Labor History is compiled by Kevin D. Curtis
- Category: City Desk
PNS - Tuesday, January 24, 2023 - Grant funding aims to alleviate the Virginia eviction crisis, a voter Citizenship bill in North Dakota stokes fears about accessibility, and Native Americans moving off the reservation face discrimination in Montana .
- Category: City Desk
Big Sky Connection
January 23, 2023 - A bill in the Montana Legislature would roll back access to medical aid-in-dying options at the end of someone's life - access that has been guaranteed in Montana for more than a decade.
LC 1043 would prohibit consent as a defense for physicians who assist a person with a terminal illness at the end of their life. Callie Riley is the Northwest regional advocacy manager of Compassion & Choices, an organization that supports medical aid-in-dying access.
"The practical effect is that it would open physicians and other medical professionals to charges of murder," said Riley, "if they participated in medical aid in dying at the request of a qualified terminally ill patient."
Riley said identical legislation was introduced in the Montana Legislature in 2019 and 2021 but was defeated both times. The 2023 bill has been drafted, but no further action on it is scheduled yet.
Opponents of medical aid in dying question the process of deciding the competency of people who are making end-of-life decisions. Some also oppose it because of their religious views.
Riley said a person who opts to use prescribed medication to end their own suffering is an individual choice, and her group believes allowing this access is trusting people on their end-of-life journey.
"We believe as an organization that people know that better than, in this case, politicians in Helena based on their own values, their beliefs, their priorities," said Riley. "What kind of care do they want, and not want, at the end of life?"
Medical aid in dying has been accessible to Montanans since a state Supreme Court decision in 2009, in which the court sided with a terminally ill U.S. Marine veteran. It is authorized in nine other states and the District of Columbia as well.