Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
May 17—Twelve Starbucks baristas in a midtown Manhattan store, declaring they couldn’t live on $7.75 an hour, signed cards demanding representation by the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies. Management roadblocks continue to deny the workers their union to this day – 2004
May 18—In what may have been baseball’s first labor strike, the Detroit Tigers refuse to play after team leader Ty Cobb is suspended: he went into the stands and beat a fan who had been heckling him. Cobb was reinstated and the Tigers went back to work after the team manager’s failed attempt to replace the players with a local college team: their pitcher gave up 24 runs – 1912
May 19—Two hundred sixteen miners die from an explosion and its aftermath at the Fraterville Mine in Anderson County, Tenn. All but three of Fraterville’s adult males were killed. The mine had a reputation for fair contracts and pay—miners were represented by the United Mine Workers—and was considered safe; methane may have leaked in from a nearby mine – 1902
—Click here for the complete posting.
Labor Video: Baseball Star’s Work Ethic: Look to Union Dad
Check out Washington Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper talking about his work ethic—and where he learned it, from his dad, a union ironworker in Las Vegas. The clip comes from a special aired by ESPN, “Bryce Begins.” Click here to watch the video.