This week in labor history

June 23, 2020

“Capital organizes and therefore Labor must organize!” 

-President Theodore Roosevelt, Progressive Republican, Progressive Party Founder


Wednesday, 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


Thursday, 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  


Friday, June 26:

The American Railway Union, in solidarity with Pullman strike, launched a boycott of all trains carrying Pullman cars, turning the Pullman strike into a national strike which 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


Saturday, June 27:

American icon, deaf, mute, blind Helen Keller, born 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, social justice, and fought against Capitalistic tyranny for 113 years. -1905


Sunday, June 28:

Birthday of Matthew Maguire, New Jersey Union machinist, who in 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 direct election of the Union’s president and creation of an Independent Review Board. -1988


Monday, June 29:

IWW strikes Weyerhauser and other Idaho lumber camps. The IWW organized and represented many lumber mills and loggers in the western states. -1936

Jesus Pallares, founder of the 8,000-member coal miners Union, Liga Obrera de Habla Espanola, is deported as an “undesirable alien.” The Union operated in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. -1936


Tuesday, June 30:

One million railway shopmen strike. -1922

Alabama outlaws the leasing of convicts to coal mine owners, a practice that had been in place since 1848. 73 percent of the state’s total revenue came from this source. 25 percent of all black leased convicts died. -1928

The Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, a Union whose roots traced back to the militant Western Federation of Miners, and which helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), merges into the United Steelworkers of America. -1967

Anaconda Company suspends all operations in Butte. The massive wealth and profits flowed out of state while the taxpayer was left with a world-class poisonous mess. (Privatize the profits, socialize the cost - the ugly truth of U.S. “Free Market” Capitalism) -1983


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





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