City Desk

“Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize!" -President Theodore Roosevelt, Progressive Republican, Progressive Party Founder

Wednesday, June 22:

Violence erupts during a coal-mine strike at Herrin, Illinois. Striking United Mine Workers clash with strikebreakers. 36 workers killed, 22 of them non-Union strikebreakers. Those accused of the killings are tried and acquitted. -1922

The Cuyahoga River catches fire just downstream from Cleveland, Ohio, and burns for 20 minutes, damaging 2 railroad bridges. Yet another example of unregulated “Free-Market” Capitalism - before the creation of the EPA. -1969

Thursday, June 23:

Butte Montana: Miner's Union Hall is demolished with dynamite. Charles Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, goes to Butte in an attempt to mediate a conflict between factions of the miners local. It didn't go well. A gunfight in the Union hall killed one man; Moyer and other Union officers left the building, which was then leveled by a dynamite blast. -1914

Congress overrides President Harry Truman's veto of the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act. Promoted by large business lobbies the law was a gift to the corporate interest intended to demobilize the growing Democratic American Labor movement and weaken Unions which had grown to represent 25 percent of the post WWII workforce. -1947

Friday, June 24:

Troops arrested 22 WFM Union members in Telluride, Colorado, accused them of being strike leaders, and illegally “deported” them at gun point.  This was a repeat of events in March, in which 60 Union miners were deported. -1904

Emma Goldman lectures in Butte, Montana. -1912

IWW Domestic Workers (Maids) Union reports they are supplying sandwiches to dozens of WWI draft resistors in the Duluth, Minnesota jail. -1917

Saturday, June 25:

10,000 people attend the dedication ceremony for The Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Chicago honoring the men who, while fighting for the 8-hour day, were framed and executed by the state for a bomb thrown, most now believe by Pinkertons, during a pro-8-hour day rally at Haymarket Square. (Never forget people died for the 8-hour work day). -1893

Decatur, Ill., police, protecting company profits, tear-gas workers at A.E. Staley plant gate one year into the company's two-and-a-half-year lockout of Paperworkers Local 7837. ("Tear Gas: the most effective agent used by employers to persuade their employees that the interests of Capital and Labor are identical." -T-Bone Slim) -1994  

Sunday, June 26:

The American Railway Union, in solidarity with the Pullman strike, launched a boycott of all trains carrying Pullman cars, turning the Pullman strike into a national strike that was eventually crushed by federal troops. Strike leader Eugene V. Debs was imprisoned and many workers were blacklisted for their involvement. 2 dozen strikers were murdered over the course of the strike. -1894

The Bisbee, Arizona IWW miner’s strike begins. Later 1,300 Union members, their supporters, and innocent bystanders were illegally “deported” at gun point from Bisbee by 2,000 armed vigilantes, over 200 miles in cattle cars, without food or water for 16 hours in the extreme desert heat. -1917

Monday, June 27:

An American icon, deaf, mute, blind Helen Keller, was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Author, Social Justice Activist, Socialist, proud IWW member. She became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and traveled the country fighting for women's suffrage, labor rights, socialism, antimilitarism, and other similar causes. -1880

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the "Wobblies," is founded at a 12-day-long convention in Chicago. By 1909 the IWW were involved in the "Free Speech Fights" of the west including Missoula, MT and Spokane, WA, where several hundred members, arrested for reading such things as the US Constitution in public, filled the jails and overwhelmed the courts eventually winning free speech rights for all. The Wobblies, advocates of "One Big Union" and the General Strike, have proudly defended the U.S. Bill of Rights, fought for Democracy, and social justice, and fought against Capitalistic tyranny for 113 years. -1905

Tuesday, June 28:

Birthday of Matthew Maguire, New Jersey Union machinist, who is 1882, proposed to the CLU (Central Labor Union) the creation of the Labor Day holiday to celebrate United States workers. -1850

The federal government sues the Teamsters to force reforms on the Union, the nation's largest. The following March, the government and the Union sign a consent decree requiring the direct election of the Union's president and the creation of an Independent Review Board. -1988

 

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

 

Click on the image above for the audio.

PNS - Thursday, June 16, 2022 - Rural pastors help farmers with mental health issues, Alabama screens those with pandemic-related alcohol dependency, and states are changing laws to help rural Americans stay in their trailer park communities.

 

Rock Creek shatters old record while communities report multiple bridges swept away

 Northeast Entrance Road washed out near Soda Butte Picnic Area (Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park via Flickr).

 

Yellowstone National Park is temporarily closed, as are many of the communities nearby the park after weekend rain storms caused the area to flood, washing out many roads and bridges.

Park officials on Monday afternoon said the closure would last through at least Wednesday at a minimum.

The full damage of the rain is still being assessed by officials in the park and nearby. The Montana communities of Gardiner and Red Lodge are essentially closed off because of concerns about flooding, washed out roads and damaged bridges.

 High water area and some of the washed out road way along the Gardner River in Yellowstone National Park on June 13, 2022 (Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park via Flickr).

 

“The community of Gardiner is currently isolated, and we are working with the county and State of Montana to provide necessary support to residents, who are currently without water and power in some areas. Due to predictions of higher flood levels in areas of the park’s southern loop, in addition to concerns with water and wastewater systems, we will begin to move visitors in the southern loop out of the park later today in coordination with our in-park business partners,” said Yellowstone Park Superintendent Cam Sholly. “We will not know timing of the park’s reopening until flood waters subside and we’re able to assess the damage throughout the park. It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a substantial amount of time. I appreciate the efforts of the Yellowstone team and partners to safely evacuate areas of the park and of our gateway community partners who are helping us through this major event. We appreciate the support offered by the Department of Interior, National Park Service and the Montana and Wyoming governors.”

All areas of the park are temporarily closed to inbound traffic, with no estimate of when it will reopen. Park officials there said that they’re still assessing “flooding, rockslides and mudslides” as well as looking at how to stabilize roads and bridges. They’ve also said that repairing the damage could take months and some areas may have to close for safety.

This closure includes visitors with lodging and camping reservations. And power is out to multiple locations in the park.

“With additional rainfall forecasted, the park does not want large numbers of day-use visitors stranded,” park officials said.

 

The Yellowstone River in multiple places in the park are already beyond record level.

 The United States Geological Survey Water Watch for the Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs, Montana. The previous record was set in 1918 at 11.5 feet, and at 10 a.m., Monday the river was at 13.62 feet (USGS via Twitter).

 

 

Red Lodge closures

 

Currently, residents in Red Lodge, in far south central Montana is also a community that sustained heavy damage as Rock Creek, a large creek that serves as the collector for much of the community’s snow and rain breached the banks and sent waters flooding into town.

The banks of Rock Creek breached north of Highway 308, by the popular “Red Box Car” restaurant, and flooded Broadway and 19th Streets.

Taking to Facebook at around 3:30 a.m. on Monday, Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz warned residents to stay away and briefed the community about what was happening. The Carbon County Offices were closed, sandbagging efforts had begun, and even the city council meeting had been postponed.

 Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz speaks on Facebook about flooding there at shortly past 3:30 a.m., June 13, 2022 (Carbon County Alert Facebook).

 

“We’re asking people to stay away. I know that people want to go and see, but it’s extremely dangerous. We watched a part of the sidewalk, just north of the Red Caboose just fall into Rock Creek. Luckily, no one was walking on it, but we will get out and look at stabilization efforts as soon as it’s safe,” Kuntz said.

Two bridges on East Side road were washed out, as well as bridges on Ninth Street and 19th Street. Parkside Road was also closed and the bridge along Highway 78 was washed out near Roscoe.

A broken city water main has also forced officials to issue a “boil” order, which means that residents should boil any water before drinking or cooking with it. Red Lodge had to turn off water for some time, too.

Mandatory evacuations took place of the east side of Broadway toward Rock Creek from 14th Street to 19th Street, and officials set up a temporary emergency shelter.

The National Weather Service warned that the wet, rainy weather, already coupled with snowpack that is well above 100 percent of normal have combined to make the flooding historic. According to the United States Geological Survey, Rock Creek was flowing at more than 2,000 cubic feet per second, almost doubling the previous record which had stood for more than 75 years of 1,230 cfs.

 A bridge washed out at Rescue Creek in Yellowstone National Park on June 13, 2022 (Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park via Flickr).

 

The National Weather Service said some of the flooding is also likely due to burned over areas from the forests that have recently burned. The scorched soil doesn’t hold the same amount of water and the barren landscape means that water usually flows over the top of the soil instead of soaking into it, resulting in flash flooding.

 

On the West

 

On the western side of the state, authorities were preparing for any flooding, but had only reported minor flooding on Monday morning.

The Missoulian reported some flooding along the Flathead River between Glacier National Park and Bigfork. It also reported some spillover at Lake Como and minor flooding on some other rivers in western Montana.

The National Weather Service is forecasting light rain through most of the state on Monday, with some severe rainstorms and thunderstorms on the far eastern portion of the state, near Broadus and Ekalaka.

The mid-June rain will give way to strong winds east of the Continental Divide on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing wind gusts of as much as 50 mph.