Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
November 22—Some 20,000 female garment workers are on strike in New York; Judge tells arrested pickets: “You are on strike against God” – 1909
November 23—History’s first recorded (on papyrus) strike, by Egyptians working on public works projects for King Ramses III in the Valley of the Kings. They were protesting having gone 20 days without pay—portions of grain—and put down their tools. Exact date estimated, described as within “the sixth month of the 29th year” of Ramses’ reign—1170BC—in The Spirit of Ancient Egypt, by Ana Ruiz. Scholar John Rome adds in Ancient Lives: The Story of the Pharaoh’s Tombmakers that the strike so terrified the authorities they gave in and raised wages. Romer believes it happened a few years later, on Nov. 14, 1152 B.C.
November 24—Led by Samuel Gompers, who would later found the American Federation of Labor, Cigarmakers’
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Labor Video: Confessions of a Walmart Hitman
A manager at Walmart, disgusted by the way the company treats its “Associates,” quits, comes clean, and gives an insider’s view of just how bad the retailer is. Click here to watch the video.