Social Mvmts: The Labor Movement

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In the U.S., the earliest free labor strike on record occurred In 1768 in New York, and workers have been struggling against the designs of industry ever since.This board surveys the labor movement in the U.S. and beyond, which formed from the need to establish protections for workers in the face of industry. For more information about the conditions workers face regarding the minimum wage and income inequality, check out our boards on "social class."

The Sociological Cinema
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (before 1900s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1910s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1920s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1930s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1900s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1940s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1950s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1960s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1970s)
Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1980s)
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Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (before 1900s)

May 25, 1805: In Philadelphia, leaders of a shoemakers' union are arrested for organizing one of the country's first strikes. They were brought to trial on criminal conspiracy charges of trying to raise their wages and convicted.

May 25, 1805: In Philadelphia, leaders of a shoemakers' union are arrested for organizing one of the country's first strikes. They were brought to trial on criminal conspiracy charges of trying to raise their wages and convicted.

Mechanics' Union of Trade Associations - formed nearby in 1827 as the first central labor council in the nation: recognized as the beginning of American labor movement. Represented workers as a class, not by craft. Advocated for ten-hour day: engaged in political activism and workers education.  At the intersection of Chestnut Street and Bank Street — in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mechanics' Union of Trade Associations - formed nearby in 1827 as the first central labor council in the nation: recognized as the beginning of American labor movement. Represented workers as a class, not by craft. Advocated for ten-hour day: engaged in political activism and workers education. At the intersection of Chestnut Street and Bank Street — in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Great Railroad Strike began in Martinsburg, West Virginia when the Baltimore & Ohio railroad company reduced wages for the second time that year. The strike spread to other states, and in response, state militias mobilized, resulting in several bloody clashes. At least 10 workers died in Cumberland, Maryland, July 14, 1877.

The Great Railroad Strike, 1877

The Great Railroad Strike began in Martinsburg, West Virginia when the Baltimore & Ohio railroad company reduced wages for the second time that year. The strike spread to other states, and in response, state militias mobilized, resulting in several bloody clashes. At least 10 workers died in Cumberland, Maryland, July 14, 1877.

The Haymarket Affair -- Caption reads, "A police patrol wagon attacked by a mob of 12,000 rioters, May 3d." -- Artist: C. Bunnell

"The Anarchist-Labor Troubles in Chicago," Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 15, 1886

The Haymarket Affair -- Caption reads, "A police patrol wagon attacked by a mob of 12,000 rioters, May 3d." -- Artist: C. Bunnell

The Haymarket Affair refers to a bombing and labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after police killed one and injured several workers. An unknown person threw dynamite at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting. The initial bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians...

The Haymarket Affair, 1886

The Haymarket Affair refers to a bombing and labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after police killed one and injured several workers. An unknown person threw dynamite at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting. The initial bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians...

Raise the rent, lower the wages--and when workers strike, send in the troops.  This failed capitalist utopia in 1890s Chicago turned into a case study in exploitation and greed  Pullman, Illinois, in the late 19th century. The company town offered workers a home -- at the expense of labor exploitation and class division.  "On May of 1894, thousands of workers went on strike without the support of a union and without a plan — what’s called a wildcat strike...

Raise the rent, lower the wages--and when workers strike, send in the troops. This failed capitalist utopia in 1890s Chicago turned into a case study in exploitation and greed Pullman, Illinois, in the late 19th century. The company town offered workers a home -- at the expense of labor exploitation and class division. "On May of 1894, thousands of workers went on strike without the support of a union and without a plan — what’s called a wildcat strike...

"The Great Railway Strikes--the first meat train leaving the Chicago stock-yards under escort of United States cavalry, July 16, 1894" This image represents the Pullman Strike (May 11, 1894–c. July 20, 1894), which was a widespread railroad strike and boycott that severely disrupted rail traffic in the Midwest of the United States. The federal government’s response to the unrest marked the first time that an injunction was used to break a strike... Artist: G.W. Peters

Pullman Strike, 1894

"The Great Railway Strikes--the first meat train leaving the Chicago stock-yards under escort of United States cavalry, July 16, 1894" This image represents the Pullman Strike (May 11, 1894–c. July 20, 1894), which was a widespread railroad strike and boycott that severely disrupted rail traffic in the Midwest of the United States. The federal government’s response to the unrest marked the first time that an injunction was used to break a strike... Artist: G.W. Peters

September 10, 1897: Striking immigrant anthracite coal miners raise an American flag and march on the still-open mine in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. They were met by the local sheriff and Coal and Iron Police deputies. The sheriff ordered the workers to disperse and the deputies opened fire, killing 19 and wounding as many as 49 others. All those killed in the Lattimer Massacre were shot in the back; the sheriff and 73 deputies were arrested, tried, and acquitted.

September 10, 1897: Striking immigrant anthracite coal miners raise an American flag and march on the still-open mine in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. They were met by the local sheriff and Coal and Iron Police deputies. The sheriff ordered the workers to disperse and the deputies opened fire, killing 19 and wounding as many as 49 others. All those killed in the Lattimer Massacre were shot in the back; the sheriff and 73 deputies were arrested, tried, and acquitted.

Immigrant miners in Illinois were soft-coal, deep-shaft miners who cut and loaded their daily quotas (as much as 5 tons) by hand. By the late 1890s, the Central Illinois coal miners were organized under the United Mine Workers (UMW) and had a strong democratic rank-and-file tradition. Prior to the Great War, the UMW supported strikes that protested harsh working conditions, sporadic shut-downs that threw miners out of work, and increasing mechanization. [Click to read more]

The Sociological Cinema

Immigrant miners in Illinois were soft-coal, deep-shaft miners who cut and loaded their daily quotas (as much as 5 tons) by hand. By the late 1890s, the Central Illinois coal miners were organized under the United Mine Workers (UMW) and had a strong democratic rank-and-file tradition. Prior to the Great War, the UMW supported strikes that protested harsh working conditions, sporadic shut-downs that threw miners out of work, and increasing mechanization. [Click to read more]

The Sociological Cinema

"International Workers Day. May Day. Solidarity is Strength" Follow this link to find a short video and analysis exploring the rise of contingent workers in the new economy.

The Sociological Cinema

thepeoplesrecord: “ International Labor Day: Rallies & protests around the world May 1, 2014 Jakarta Thousands of protesters are expected to march through the streets of the Indonesian capital. Among...

The origins of May Day: When workers went on strike at a factory in Chicago on May 3, 1886, police fired into the crowd, killing 4. The workers rallied the next day in Haymarket Square in protest. Then 180 police officers ordered the crowd to disperse. Someone threw a bomb, killing 1 officer. The police fired into the crowd, killing 1. Despite evidence, 8 unionists were charged & sentenced to death. Over time, May Day became a day for organizing & unifying the intern. struggle of workers.

The origins of May Day: When workers went on strike at a factory in Chicago on May 3, 1886, police fired into the crowd, killing 4. The workers rallied the next day in Haymarket Square in protest. Then 180 police officers ordered the crowd to disperse. Someone threw a bomb, killing 1 officer. The police fired into the crowd, killing 1. Despite evidence, 8 unionists were charged & sentenced to death. Over time, May Day became a day for organizing & unifying the intern. struggle of workers.

Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1910s)

"This anarchist paper from Spokane is the limit. It says a working man can' get rich by saving his money. T'aint so.  Here's a respectable paper. It says: everybody can be successful if he only makes up his mind. That's the dope." --------------------------------- On November 7, 1912, the famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) comic strip "Mr. Block" first appeared in print and featured a character with a wooden block head and no class consciousness.  Artist: Ernest Riebe

"This anarchist paper from Spokane is the limit. It says a working man can' get rich by saving his money. T'aint so. Here's a respectable paper. It says: everybody can be successful if he only makes up his mind. That's the dope." --------------------------------- On November 7, 1912, the famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) comic strip "Mr. Block" first appeared in print and featured a character with a wooden block head and no class consciousness. Artist: Ernest Riebe

Striking miners at the Ruhr River reading an enactment by the district president at the gate of the coalmine that permits police the early use of firearms, March 1912  Photo credit: Berliner Illustrations Gesellschaft / ullstein bild

Striking miners at the Ruhr River reading an enactment by the district president at the gate of the coalmine that permits police the early use of firearms, March 1912 Photo credit: Berliner Illustrations Gesellschaft / ullstein bild

“Diseases & Crimes - Tree of All Evil” (1912), Nedeljkovich, Brashich, and Kuharich / IWW, Cleveland  At the bottom, toward the right a man digs at a tree root, and the text behind him reads, "class-conscious workers, we have to destroy the cause of evil"

“Diseases & Crimes - Tree of All Evil” (1912), Nedeljkovich, Brashich, and Kuharich / IWW, Cleveland At the bottom, toward the right a man digs at a tree root, and the text behind him reads, "class-conscious workers, we have to destroy the cause of evil"

The ​“Bread and Ros­es Strike” of 1912 was trig­gered by a Pro­gres­sive-era reform that back­fired. State leg­is­la­tors had just reduced the max­i­mum allow­able work­ing hours for women and chil­dren from 56 to 54 hours per week. When this reduc­tion went into effect, work­ers quick­ly dis­cov­ered that their pay had been cut proportion­ate­ly and their jobs speed­ed up by the Amer­i­can Woolen Com­pa­ny and oth­er firms. In this image, textile strikers confront Massachusetts militiamen…

The ​“Bread and Ros­es Strike,” 1912

The ​“Bread and Ros­es Strike” of 1912 was trig­gered by a Pro­gres­sive-era reform that back­fired. State leg­is­la­tors had just reduced the max­i­mum allow­able work­ing hours for women and chil­dren from 56 to 54 hours per week. When this reduc­tion went into effect, work­ers quick­ly dis­cov­ered that their pay had been cut proportion­ate­ly and their jobs speed­ed up by the Amer­i­can Woolen Com­pa­ny and oth­er firms. In this image, textile strikers confront Massachusetts militiamen…

"Bread or Revolution" - Striker during the woolen mills strike in Lawrence Massachusetts known as the Bread and Roses Strike, 1912.

"Bread or Revolution" - Striker during the woolen mills strike in Lawrence Massachusetts known as the Bread and Roses Strike, 1912.

“The Last Strike” (1912), Nedeljkovich, Brashich, and Kuharich / IWW, Cleveland  Credit: University of Michigan, Labadie Collection

“The Last Strike” (1912), Nedeljkovich, Brashich, and Kuharich / IWW, Cleveland Credit: University of Michigan, Labadie Collection

“Don’t Be A Scab” - Two girls on rollerskates distribute leaflets, 1916.  Photo credit: George Grantham Bain Collection / Library of Congress

“Don’t Be A Scab” - Two girls on rollerskates distribute leaflets, 1916. Photo credit: George Grantham Bain Collection / Library of Congress

“Grand picnic and re-union of all the radicals of the city of Chicago” (1918), Industrial Workers of the World

“Grand picnic and re-union of all the radicals of the city of Chicago” (1918), Industrial Workers of the World

This is an image of a white mob in Arkansas, which participated in what would become known as the Elaine massacre, September 30, 1919 - October 1, 1919.  Photo credit: AHC 1595.2, from the Collections of the Arkansas History Commission. — at Phillips County, Arkansas.

Elaine Massacre, 1919

This is an image of a white mob in Arkansas, which participated in what would become known as the Elaine massacre, September 30, 1919 - October 1, 1919. Photo credit: AHC 1595.2, from the Collections of the Arkansas History Commission. — at Phillips County, Arkansas.

Strikers picketing during the 1913 Garment Workers' Strike

Strikers picketing during the 1913 Garment Workers' Strike

Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1920s)

In 1920 area miners went on strike to gain recognition of UMWA. On May 19 of the same year, twelve Baldwin-Felts Agency guards came from Bluefield to evict the miners from company houses. As guards left town, they argued with town police chief Sid Hatfield and Mayor Testerman. Shooting of undetermined origins resulted in the deaths of two coal miners, seven agents, and the mayor. None of the 19 men indicted were convicted, Matewan, West Virginia, 2008. Photo credit: Brandon Ray Kirk

Matewan Massacre

In 1920 area miners went on strike to gain recognition of UMWA. On May 19 of the same year, twelve Baldwin-Felts Agency guards came from Bluefield to evict the miners from company houses. As guards left town, they argued with town police chief Sid Hatfield and Mayor Testerman. Shooting of undetermined origins resulted in the deaths of two coal miners, seven agents, and the mayor. None of the 19 men indicted were convicted, Matewan, West Virginia, 2008. Photo credit: Brandon Ray Kirk

"Women Support Labor" - Equal Pay for Equal Work Regardless of Gender, Race, Religion or Sexual Orientation. Unions Built This!

"Women Support Labor" - Equal Pay for Equal Work Regardless of Gender, Race, Religion or Sexual Orientation. Unions Built This!

The Battle of Blair Mountain

The Battle of Blair Mountain

August 31, 1921: The Battle of Blair Mountain in southern West Virginia is underway between upwards of 7,000 coal miners and the private militias employed by the coal companies to crush organizing by the United Mine Workers of America. The battle lasted for five days until President Warren G. Harding sent in federal forces, at which point most of the miners surrendered. The miners' leaders were tried for insurrection and treason, legal fees all but bankrupted the union.

August 31, 1921: The Battle of Blair Mountain in southern West Virginia is underway between upwards of 7,000 coal miners and the private militias employed by the coal companies to crush organizing by the United Mine Workers of America. The battle lasted for five days until President Warren G. Harding sent in federal forces, at which point most of the miners surrendered. The miners' leaders were tried for insurrection and treason, legal fees all but bankrupted the union.

On November 15, 1922 soldiers opened fire into a crowd of 20,000 men, women, and children who were rallying in support of jailed labor leaders during a general strike that shut down the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. An estimated 300 people were killed in the span of the two-hour massacre. On November 21, the strike was settled and the workers’ demands were met.  Source: Today in Labor History — in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Today in Labor History

On November 15, 1922 soldiers opened fire into a crowd of 20,000 men, women, and children who were rallying in support of jailed labor leaders during a general strike that shut down the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. An estimated 300 people were killed in the span of the two-hour massacre. On November 21, the strike was settled and the workers’ demands were met. Source: Today in Labor History — in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Workers organized a strike against the United Fruit Company near the town of Ciénaga near Santa Marta, Colombia on November 12, 1928. They refused to work until an agreement could be reached about implementing dignified working conditions. The United Fruit Company refused to negotiate with the workers, and on December 5 and 6, by the order of the conservative government of Miguel Abadía Méndez, the Colombian army opened fire on the workers, killing between 100 to 2,000 people.

The Banana Massacre, 1928

Workers organized a strike against the United Fruit Company near the town of Ciénaga near Santa Marta, Colombia on November 12, 1928. They refused to work until an agreement could be reached about implementing dignified working conditions. The United Fruit Company refused to negotiate with the workers, and on December 5 and 6, by the order of the conservative government of Miguel Abadía Méndez, the Colombian army opened fire on the workers, killing between 100 to 2,000 people.

At This Site - During the Northern Coal Lockout [a.k.a, The Northern New South Wales Coal Lockout], March 1st, 1929 - June 3rd, 1930, miners and police clashed on Monday, December 16th, 1929, over the use of non-union (scab) labour at Rothbury Colliery. One miner--Norman Brown--was killed. An unknown number of miners and police were wounded. — in New South Wales, Australia.

At This Site - During the Northern Coal Lockout [a.k.a, The Northern New South Wales Coal Lockout], March 1st, 1929 - June 3rd, 1930, miners and police clashed on Monday, December 16th, 1929, over the use of non-union (scab) labour at Rothbury Colliery. One miner--Norman Brown--was killed. An unknown number of miners and police were wounded. — in New South Wales, Australia.

Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1930s)

Ford Hunger March Massacre, 1932

Wisconsin Farmers Strike, May 24, 1933  On October 21, 1933: In an attempt to raise the price of milk, Wisconsin dairy farmers begin the third major milk strike of the year in the state. During the Great Depression, farmers who produced milk for bottling were able to remain solvent, but those who produced milk for cheese, butter, and other uses were driven into poverty. The initial strike involved farmers primarily in Rusk, Price Shawano counties. (via Today in Labor History, on Tumblr)

Wisconsin Farmers Strike, May 24, 1933 On October 21, 1933: In an attempt to raise the price of milk, Wisconsin dairy farmers begin the third major milk strike of the year in the state. During the Great Depression, farmers who produced milk for bottling were able to remain solvent, but those who produced milk for cheese, butter, and other uses were driven into poverty. The initial strike involved farmers primarily in Rusk, Price Shawano counties. (via Today in Labor History, on Tumblr)

"We Want the 40 Hour Week." 1934.    The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 mandated a 40-hour work week with time-and-a half overtime pay. The legislation was passed to eliminate “labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and the general well-being of workers.”    [click on this image to find an analysis of the role of low wage work in the global economy]

"We Want the 40 Hour Week." 1934. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 mandated a 40-hour work week with time-and-a half overtime pay. The legislation was passed to eliminate “labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and the general well-being of workers.” [click on this image to find an analysis of the role of low wage work in the global economy]

A violet confrontation between strikers and police at the Toledo Electric Auto-Lite plant. The strike, which lasted nearly two months, involved a five-day battle (“The Battle of Toledo”) between 6,000+ strikers and the Ohio National Guard, leaving two striking workers dead and more than 200 injured, May 1934.

The Battle of Toledo, 1934

A violet confrontation between strikers and police at the Toledo Electric Auto-Lite plant. The strike, which lasted nearly two months, involved a five-day battle (“The Battle of Toledo”) between 6,000+ strikers and the Ohio National Guard, leaving two striking workers dead and more than 200 injured, May 1934.

“Bloody Friday” during the historic 1934 Minneapolis truckers strike.  On Bloody Friday, 67 striking truck drivers and their supporters were shot by Minneapolis police, acting on orders from the Citizens Alliance, an anti-labor employers’ group, which controlled city government. Police injured 67 picketers were and killed two strikers, John Belor and Henry Ness.

The Sociological Cinema

fuckyeahmarxismleninism: “ Today in history: July 20, 1934 - “Bloody Friday” during the historic 1934 Minneapolis truckers strike. On Bloody Friday, 67 striking truck drivers and their supporters were...

Teamsters caught the employers by surprise, and closed down 65 of 67 coal yards in a bid for union recognition. The employers capitulated in three days and granted recognition for Teamsters Local 574.

The Minneapolis Teamsters Strike, 1934

Teamsters caught the employers by surprise, and closed down 65 of 67 coal yards in a bid for union recognition. The employers capitulated in three days and granted recognition for Teamsters Local 574.

In an effort to break the picket line by striking steelworkers at Newton Steel – a subsidiary of Republic Steel – in Monroe, Michigan, a vigilante mob deputized by city leaders attack with tear gas and clubs. Workers and union supporters were gassed, chased, and beaten and eight people were injured and hospitalized. An inquiry later revealed that Republic Steel had paid the city for the purchase of the weapons, June 10, 1937. via Today in Labor History

Striking Steel Workers, 1937

In an effort to break the picket line by striking steelworkers at Newton Steel – a subsidiary of Republic Steel – in Monroe, Michigan, a vigilante mob deputized by city leaders attack with tear gas and clubs. Workers and union supporters were gassed, chased, and beaten and eight people were injured and hospitalized. An inquiry later revealed that Republic Steel had paid the city for the purchase of the weapons, June 10, 1937. via Today in Labor History

Walter Reuther, left, and Richard Frankensteen, after being beaten bloody by Ford Motor Company's anti-union thugs at the "Battle of the Overpass" in Dearborn, Michigan, May 26, 1937 Photo credit: Wayne State University Reuther Library Archives

Walter Reuther and Richard Frankensteen, after the "Battle of the Overpass," 1937

Walter Reuther, left, and Richard Frankensteen, after being beaten bloody by Ford Motor Company's anti-union thugs at the "Battle of the Overpass" in Dearborn, Michigan, May 26, 1937 Photo credit: Wayne State University Reuther Library Archives

"They Shall Not Pass" - Chrysler strikers warn away scab workers.   Photo credit: King’s Academy  Does anyone know when this photo was taken?

"They Shall Not Pass" - Chrysler strikers warn away scab workers. Photo credit: King’s Academy Does anyone know when this photo was taken?

A scene depicting unionized strikers fighting with a group of 'scabs' or nonunion replacement employees as they try to cross the picket line at a factory. One of the strikers' signs reads 'We fight fascism.' Several men lay unconscious on the ground, c. 1935.  Photo credit: American Stock / Getty Images  Does anyone know where this strike occurred?

A scene depicting unionized strikers fighting with a group of 'scabs' or nonunion replacement employees as they try to cross the picket line at a factory. One of the strikers' signs reads 'We fight fascism.' Several men lay unconscious on the ground, c. 1935. Photo credit: American Stock / Getty Images Does anyone know where this strike occurred?

In an effort to break the picket line by striking steelworkers at Newton Steel – a subsidiary of Republic Steel – in Monroe, Michigan, a vigilante mob deputized by city leaders attack with tear gas and clubs. Workers and union supporters were gassed, chased, and beaten and eight people were injured and hospitalized. An inquiry later revealed that Republic Steel had paid the city for the purchase of the weapons, June 10, 1937.

Striking Steel Workers, 1937

In an effort to break the picket line by striking steelworkers at Newton Steel – a subsidiary of Republic Steel – in Monroe, Michigan, a vigilante mob deputized by city leaders attack with tear gas and clubs. Workers and union supporters were gassed, chased, and beaten and eight people were injured and hospitalized. An inquiry later revealed that Republic Steel had paid the city for the purchase of the weapons, June 10, 1937.

Workers at the Republic Steel Plant in Chicago, Illinois protested the company officials’ refusal to sign a union contract. When the picketers refused to disperse, members of the Chicago Police Department deployed tear gas and shot and killed 10 demonstrators on the picket line. The event is coined the Memorial Day Massacre, May 30, 1937.

Memorial Day Massacre, 1937

Workers at the Republic Steel Plant in Chicago, Illinois protested the company officials’ refusal to sign a union contract. When the picketers refused to disperse, members of the Chicago Police Department deployed tear gas and shot and killed 10 demonstrators on the picket line. The event is coined the Memorial Day Massacre, May 30, 1937.

Police used guns, clubs, and tear gas to attack marching strikers outside Chicago's Republic Steel plant, May 30, 1937. Photo credit: Carl Linde / AP

Police attacked marching strikers outside Chicago's Republic Steel plant, 1937

Police used guns, clubs, and tear gas to attack marching strikers outside Chicago's Republic Steel plant, May 30, 1937. Photo credit: Carl Linde / AP

A group of unemployed miners attend a meeting of the Workers Alliance Council during the Great Depression in Scott's Run, West Virginia, 1937 Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Workers Alliance Council, 1937

A group of unemployed miners attend a meeting of the Workers Alliance Council during the Great Depression in Scott's Run, West Virginia, 1937 Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

"Sit-Down Woolworth Workers Strike. Help Us Win 40 Hr. Week. Dep't Store Emp. Union" 2/27/1937: More than 100 women workers at one of 40 Woolworth stores in Detroit, MI, begin a sit-down strike over wages, hours, working conditions & union recognition. Solidarity action in support of the workers was incredible, the strike spread & on 3/5 the workers won their demands, including the union shop. The union won a uniform contract for all 40 stores in Detroit, which covered 2.5k workers.

"Sit-Down Woolworth Workers Strike. Help Us Win 40 Hr. Week. Dep't Store Emp. Union" 2/27/1937: More than 100 women workers at one of 40 Woolworth stores in Detroit, MI, begin a sit-down strike over wages, hours, working conditions & union recognition. Solidarity action in support of the workers was incredible, the strike spread & on 3/5 the workers won their demands, including the union shop. The union won a uniform contract for all 40 stores in Detroit, which covered 2.5k workers.

May 30, 1937: In what would become known as the Memorial Day Massacre, police open fire on striking steelworkers, their families, and supporters who were marching to the Republic Steel plant in South Chicago to set up a picket line. The police killed ten people and pursued those fleeing the attack, wounding many more; no one was ever prosecuted.

Memorial Day Massacre, 1937

May 30, 1937: In what would become known as the Memorial Day Massacre, police open fire on striking steelworkers, their families, and supporters who were marching to the Republic Steel plant in South Chicago to set up a picket line. The police killed ten people and pursued those fleeing the attack, wounding many more; no one was ever prosecuted.

The One Big Union Monthly, Vol. II, No. 2, February 1938 Published by The Industrial Workers of the World

The Big Union, 1938

The One Big Union Monthly, Vol. II, No. 2, February 1938 Published by The Industrial Workers of the World

Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1900s)

A man named Frank Curry was hired by industry to bring "scab" labor into Chicago to break strikes. In this image, an effigy of Frank Curry has been hung over over 42nd Street and Wentworth Avenue during the Chicago City Railway Strike, November 19, 1903.  Photo credit: Chicago Daily News collection / Chicago History Museum / Getty Images

A man named Frank Curry was hired by industry to bring "scab" labor into Chicago to break strikes. In this image, an effigy of Frank Curry has been hung over over 42nd Street and Wentworth Avenue during the Chicago City Railway Strike, November 19, 1903. Photo credit: Chicago Daily News collection / Chicago History Museum / Getty Images

On November 14, 1903 the National Women’s Trade Union League was formed. It was organized as a coalition of working-class women, professional reformers & women from wealthy families. Its purpose was to help women secure conditions necessary for healthful & efficient work. In this image, members of the WTUL of New York pose with a banner calling for the 8-hour day. Photo credit: Kheel Center, Cornell University.

On November 14, 1903 the National Women’s Trade Union League was formed. It was organized as a coalition of working-class women, professional reformers & women from wealthy families. Its purpose was to help women secure conditions necessary for healthful & efficient work. In this image, members of the WTUL of New York pose with a banner calling for the 8-hour day. Photo credit: Kheel Center, Cornell University.

"Industrial Unionism - Abolition of the Wage System. Join the I.W.W. Freedom from Wage Slavery"  The "One Big Union" is a motto of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), founded in Chicago in 1905 and continuing today with several thousand members in the USA, Canada, Britain, and in a handful of other countries.

"Industrial Unionism - Abolition of the Wage System. Join the I.W.W. Freedom from Wage Slavery" The "One Big Union" is a motto of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), founded in Chicago in 1905 and continuing today with several thousand members in the USA, Canada, Britain, and in a handful of other countries.

Strike breaking coal miners in the Rhondda Valley, Wales, with their lamps before going down the pit. They are wearing khaki colored arm bands with the stamp of the crown known as the Kakhi badge of courage.  Photo credit: Universal History Archive

Strike breaking coal miners in the Rhondda Valley, Wales, with their lamps before going down the pit. They are wearing khaki colored arm bands with the stamp of the crown known as the Kakhi badge of courage. Photo credit: Universal History Archive

“Is Colorado in America?” (1906), Western Federation of Miners, created by Charles Moyer and William D. Haywood

“Is Colorado in America?” (1906), Western Federation of Miners, created by Charles Moyer and William D. Haywood

Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1940s)

"The Picket Line" - It was April 3, 1941, day 2 of the first United Auto Workers’ strike at the Ford Motor Co. factory. The factory was closed; 120k workers were idle. Tensions ran high. Fists were clenched, clubs rose, and 8 strikers turned on a lone dissenter, crouching low, coat over his head. The camera under his coat, Brooks ducked into the crowd. “A lot of people would have liked to wreck that picture.” Brooks was later awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the photo.  Photo credit: Milton…

"The Picket Line" - It was April 3, 1941, day 2 of the first United Auto Workers’ strike at the Ford Motor Co. factory. The factory was closed; 120k workers were idle. Tensions ran high. Fists were clenched, clubs rose, and 8 strikers turned on a lone dissenter, crouching low, coat over his head. The camera under his coat, Brooks ducked into the crowd. “A lot of people would have liked to wreck that picture.” Brooks was later awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the photo. Photo credit: Milton…

"Wipe out discrimination against race, religions, on the job, in restaurants, in housing...CIO says 'Wipe out discrimination,'" c. 1947. Though labor unions havent been uniform in their support of civil rights & against discrimination, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) National Committee to Abolish Discrimination was formed during WWII to eliminate discriminatory practices in all CIO locals. Source: Kheel Center Poster Collection

"Wipe out discrimination against race, religions, on the job, in restaurants, in housing...CIO says 'Wipe out discrimination,'" c. 1947. Though labor unions havent been uniform in their support of civil rights & against discrimination, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) National Committee to Abolish Discrimination was formed during WWII to eliminate discriminatory practices in all CIO locals. Source: Kheel Center Poster Collection

"If his right to work is taken away...you're next! Make Congress stop stalling on FEPC [Federal Fair Employment Practices Commission] legislation," c. 1941  Though labor unions havent been uniform in their support of civil rights & against discr., the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) Nat. Committee to Abolish Discrimination was formed during WW2 to eliminate discriminatory practices. Source: Kheel Center Poster Collection

"If his right to work is taken away...you're next! Make Congress stop stalling on FEPC [Federal Fair Employment Practices Commission] legislation," c. 1941 Though labor unions havent been uniform in their support of civil rights & against discr., the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) Nat. Committee to Abolish Discrimination was formed during WW2 to eliminate discriminatory practices. Source: Kheel Center Poster Collection

Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1950s)

"Support the National Negro Labor Council - Stop Discrimination in Employment...Say, 'We won't ride if negroes can't drive.' Democratize Yellow Cab"  1950s poster calling for non-discrimination in the hiring of San Francisco taxicab drivers. The NNLC was founded in Detroit in 1951. It was disbanded in 1956 under pressure from the federal government. Poster by Frank Rowe.

"Support the National Negro Labor Council - Stop Discrimination in Employment...Say, 'We won't ride if negroes can't drive.' Democratize Yellow Cab" 1950s poster calling for non-discrimination in the hiring of San Francisco taxicab drivers. The NNLC was founded in Detroit in 1951. It was disbanded in 1956 under pressure from the federal government. Poster by Frank Rowe.

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Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1960s)

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers emerged in Detroit in the late 1960s in response to police brutality, poor living conditions, and limited jobs. The League’s perspective was unique among social movements of the era in its focus on the exploitation of black workers, particularly as it pertained to the immense profits of the “Big Three” auto companies (Ford, GM, and Chrysler).

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers emerged in Detroit in the late 1960s in response to police brutality, poor living conditions, and limited jobs. The League’s perspective was unique among social movements of the era in its focus on the exploitation of black workers, particularly as it pertained to the immense profits of the “Big Three” auto companies (Ford, GM, and Chrysler).

Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1970s)

Slaves of the State: Prison Uprisings and the Legacy of Attica

Slaves of the State: Prison Uprisings and the Legacy of Attica from Boston Review. A historian uncovered an archive of massacre at Attica—only to have the records disappear.

(1 of 2) I don't think that most people fully appreciate how much bravery it takes for people in prison to go on strike. The threat of state-sanctioned violence, the possibility of torture, the likelihood of being placed in solitary confinement indefinitely.  It's a deeply courageous act.  ~ @ClintSmithIII

(1 of 2) I don't think that most people fully appreciate how much bravery it takes for people in prison to go on strike. The threat of state-sanctioned violence, the possibility of torture, the likelihood of being placed in solitary confinement indefinitely. It's a deeply courageous act. ~ @ClintSmithIII

Social Mvmts: Labor Protests (1980s)

Industrial Worker, March 1981

Industrial Worker, March 1981

Justice Speaks: Newsletter of the Black Workers for Justice, Vol. 1, No. 1, August, 1983  The Struggle for Jobs, Peace, Freedom  The Black Workers for Justice, are proud to introduce the first issue of it's monthly newsletter--Justice Speaks!  The newsletter will cover workers' issues and activities on the job, and in the community. It will emphasize the special problems faced by black workers, and the "special" role they must play in different struggles.

Justice Speaks: Newsletter of the Black Workers for Justice, Vol. 1, No. 1, August, 1983 The Struggle for Jobs, Peace, Freedom The Black Workers for Justice, are proud to introduce the first issue of it's monthly newsletter--Justice Speaks! The newsletter will cover workers' issues and activities on the job, and in the community. It will emphasize the special problems faced by black workers, and the "special" role they must play in different struggles.

This is an image from the British Miners’ Strike of 1984-1985. On March 6, 1984, the Thatcher government announced plans to immediately begin closing 20 coal mines, and its intentions to eventually close over 70 more pits. Following the announcement, miners led by the National Union of Mineworkers participated in mass walk-outs and strikes, including the famous Battle of Orgreave.  Photo credit: John Sturrock

This is an image from the British Miners’ Strike of 1984-1985. On March 6, 1984, the Thatcher government announced plans to immediately begin closing 20 coal mines, and its intentions to eventually close over 70 more pits. Following the announcement, miners led by the National Union of Mineworkers participated in mass walk-outs and strikes, including the famous Battle of Orgreave. Photo credit: John Sturrock

Miners leader Arthur Scargill arrested at Orgreave, South Yorkshire during a confrontation between police and striking miners that became known as the Battle of Orgreave, May 1984.   Photo credit: Peter Arkell

Miners leader Arthur Scargill arrested at Orgreave, South Yorkshire during a confrontation between police and striking miners that became known as the Battle of Orgreave, May 1984. Photo credit: Peter Arkell

Dinnington Pit during the UK miners’ strike  "From blemish…to strikebreaker, the history of the word scab…shows a displacement of meaning from the visceral or physical to the moral register…Just as a scab is a physical lesion, the strikebreaking scab disfigures the social body of labor—both the solidarity of workers and the dignity of work."  ~ Stephanie Ann Smith, "Household Words" — in Dinnington.

Dinnington Pit during the UK miners’ strike "From blemish…to strikebreaker, the history of the word scab…shows a displacement of meaning from the visceral or physical to the moral register…Just as a scab is a physical lesion, the strikebreaking scab disfigures the social body of labor—both the solidarity of workers and the dignity of work." ~ Stephanie Ann Smith, "Household Words" — in Dinnington.

Other Pins

Ford Hunger March Massacre, 1932

"This anarchist paper from Spokane is the limit. It says a working man can' get rich by saving his money. T'aint so.  Here's a respectable paper. It says: everybody can be successful if he only makes up his mind. That's the dope." --------------------------------- On November 7, 1912, the famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) comic strip "Mr. Block" first appeared in print and featured a character with a wooden block head and no class consciousness.  Artist: Ernest Riebe

"This anarchist paper from Spokane is the limit. It says a working man can' get rich by saving his money. T'aint so. Here's a respectable paper. It says: everybody can be successful if he only makes up his mind. That's the dope." --------------------------------- On November 7, 1912, the famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) comic strip "Mr. Block" first appeared in print and featured a character with a wooden block head and no class consciousness. Artist: Ernest Riebe

May 25, 1805: In Philadelphia, leaders of a shoemakers' union are arrested for organizing one of the country's first strikes. They were brought to trial on criminal conspiracy charges of trying to raise their wages and convicted.

May 25, 1805: In Philadelphia, leaders of a shoemakers' union are arrested for organizing one of the country's first strikes. They were brought to trial on criminal conspiracy charges of trying to raise their wages and convicted.

Mechanics' Union of Trade Associations - formed nearby in 1827 as the first central labor council in the nation: recognized as the beginning of American labor movement. Represented workers as a class, not by craft. Advocated for ten-hour day: engaged in political activism and workers education.  At the intersection of Chestnut Street and Bank Street — in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mechanics' Union of Trade Associations - formed nearby in 1827 as the first central labor council in the nation: recognized as the beginning of American labor movement. Represented workers as a class, not by craft. Advocated for ten-hour day: engaged in political activism and workers education. At the intersection of Chestnut Street and Bank Street — in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Great Railroad Strike began in Martinsburg, West Virginia when the Baltimore & Ohio railroad company reduced wages for the second time that year. The strike spread to other states, and in response, state militias mobilized, resulting in several bloody clashes. At least 10 workers died in Cumberland, Maryland, July 14, 1877.

The Great Railroad Strike, 1877

The Great Railroad Strike began in Martinsburg, West Virginia when the Baltimore & Ohio railroad company reduced wages for the second time that year. The strike spread to other states, and in response, state militias mobilized, resulting in several bloody clashes. At least 10 workers died in Cumberland, Maryland, July 14, 1877.

The Haymarket Affair -- Caption reads, "A police patrol wagon attacked by a mob of 12,000 rioters, May 3d." -- Artist: C. Bunnell

"The Anarchist-Labor Troubles in Chicago," Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 15, 1886

The Haymarket Affair -- Caption reads, "A police patrol wagon attacked by a mob of 12,000 rioters, May 3d." -- Artist: C. Bunnell

The Haymarket Affair refers to a bombing and labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after police killed one and injured several workers. An unknown person threw dynamite at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting. The initial bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians...

The Haymarket Affair, 1886

The Haymarket Affair refers to a bombing and labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after police killed one and injured several workers. An unknown person threw dynamite at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting. The initial bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians...

Raise the rent, lower the wages--and when workers strike, send in the troops.  This failed capitalist utopia in 1890s Chicago turned into a case study in exploitation and greed  Pullman, Illinois, in the late 19th century. The company town offered workers a home -- at the expense of labor exploitation and class division.  "On May of 1894, thousands of workers went on strike without the support of a union and without a plan — what’s called a wildcat strike...

Raise the rent, lower the wages--and when workers strike, send in the troops. This failed capitalist utopia in 1890s Chicago turned into a case study in exploitation and greed Pullman, Illinois, in the late 19th century. The company town offered workers a home -- at the expense of labor exploitation and class division. "On May of 1894, thousands of workers went on strike without the support of a union and without a plan — what’s called a wildcat strike...

"The Great Railway Strikes--the first meat train leaving the Chicago stock-yards under escort of United States cavalry, July 16, 1894" This image represents the Pullman Strike (May 11, 1894–c. July 20, 1894), which was a widespread railroad strike and boycott that severely disrupted rail traffic in the Midwest of the United States. The federal government’s response to the unrest marked the first time that an injunction was used to break a strike... Artist: G.W. Peters

Pullman Strike, 1894

"The Great Railway Strikes--the first meat train leaving the Chicago stock-yards under escort of United States cavalry, July 16, 1894" This image represents the Pullman Strike (May 11, 1894–c. July 20, 1894), which was a widespread railroad strike and boycott that severely disrupted rail traffic in the Midwest of the United States. The federal government’s response to the unrest marked the first time that an injunction was used to break a strike... Artist: G.W. Peters

Ever since their inception as slave patrols, police have been a tool to suppress assembly, break strikes, and squash popular movements that threaten the status quo. Whatever their intentions, good or bad, officers swear to uphold the LAW, even when the law is unjust or immoral. Cops are instruments of oppression, whether they like it or not. That is why they can NEVER join the One Big Union for all WORKERS...

(3 of 3) Why don't we allow cops in our union?

Ever since their inception as slave patrols, police have been a tool to suppress assembly, break strikes, and squash popular movements that threaten the status quo. Whatever their intentions, good or bad, officers swear to uphold the LAW, even when the law is unjust or immoral. Cops are instruments of oppression, whether they like it or not. That is why they can NEVER join the One Big Union for all WORKERS...

The police are the domestic arm of the state's monopoly on violence. Their function is to maintain "order" and protect private property. Private property is not personal property. Police have no obligation to protect you, or your belongings.* (* DeShaney vs. Winnebago) In fact, 65% of Americans don't trust the police enough to even report stolen property. Why bother, when police only "solve" 19% of thefts.* The true function of police is to serve and protect the interests of the ruling…

(2 of 6) Why don't we allow cops in our union?

The police are the domestic arm of the state's monopoly on violence. Their function is to maintain "order" and protect private property. Private property is not personal property. Police have no obligation to protect you, or your belongings.* (* DeShaney vs. Winnebago) In fact, 65% of Americans don't trust the police enough to even report stolen property. Why bother, when police only "solve" 19% of thefts.* The true function of police is to serve and protect the interests of the ruling…

The Police ban isn't an indictment on individuals, but a recognition of the function of the Police Institutionally. Any state, of any soze or structure is characterized by one aspect: a monopoly on the use of violence. Personal self defense is sometimes legal, but NEVER against the state. You are not allowed to defend yourself against any law enforcement officer. The police are the domestic arm of the state's monopoly on violence...

(1 of 3) Why don't we allow cops in our union?

The Police ban isn't an indictment on individuals, but a recognition of the function of the Police Institutionally. Any state, of any soze or structure is characterized by one aspect: a monopoly on the use of violence. Personal self defense is sometimes legal, but NEVER against the state. You are not allowed to defend yourself against any law enforcement officer. The police are the domestic arm of the state's monopoly on violence...

In 1920 area miners went on strike to gain recognition of UMWA. On May 19 of the same year, twelve Baldwin-Felts Agency guards came from Bluefield to evict the miners from company houses. As guards left town, they argued with town police chief Sid Hatfield and Mayor Testerman. Shooting of undetermined origins resulted in the deaths of two coal miners, seven agents, and the mayor. None of the 19 men indicted were convicted, Matewan, West Virginia, 2008. Photo credit: Brandon Ray Kirk

Matewan Massacre

In 1920 area miners went on strike to gain recognition of UMWA. On May 19 of the same year, twelve Baldwin-Felts Agency guards came from Bluefield to evict the miners from company houses. As guards left town, they argued with town police chief Sid Hatfield and Mayor Testerman. Shooting of undetermined origins resulted in the deaths of two coal miners, seven agents, and the mayor. None of the 19 men indicted were convicted, Matewan, West Virginia, 2008. Photo credit: Brandon Ray Kirk

Protester A: "Livable Wages" Heckler: "Well, I earn even less and you don't see me protesting!"  [Protester B corrects Heckler's sentence to read, "Well, I earn even less BECAUSE you don't see me protesting!]  Artist: Kasia Babis

Protester A: "Livable Wages" Heckler: "Well, I earn even less and you don't see me protesting!" [Protester B corrects Heckler's sentence to read, "Well, I earn even less BECAUSE you don't see me protesting!] Artist: Kasia Babis

Striking miners at the Ruhr River reading an enactment by the district president at the gate of the coalmine that permits police the early use of firearms, March 1912  Photo credit: Berliner Illustrations Gesellschaft / ullstein bild

Striking miners at the Ruhr River reading an enactment by the district president at the gate of the coalmine that permits police the early use of firearms, March 1912 Photo credit: Berliner Illustrations Gesellschaft / ullstein bild