Today in Labor History: February 4

Today in Labor History: February 4
The Ohio legislature authorizes construction of the 249-mile Miami and Erie Canal, to connect Toledo to Cincinnati. Local historians say “Irish immigrants, convicts and local farmers used picks, shovels and wheelbarrows,” at 30 cents per day, to construct the 249-mile-long waterway – 1825

“Big Bill” Haywood born in Salt Lake City, Utah: Leader of Western Federation of Miners, Wobblies (IWW) founder – 18692014.02.03—history-solidarity-forever-cover
(Solidarity Forever: An Oral History of the IWW: The IWW was the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies. Founded in 1905, the Wobblies aspired to bring all workers into a single, huge union that could be strong enough to do battle with the corporate giants of their time and help build an economic system in which production would be geared for the public good rather than for private profit.  This book is a wonderful collection of IWW members’ oral histories interspersed with the authors’ comments about this fascinating and vitally important piece of American and labor history. Includes more than 50 photos and cartoons.)

2014.02.03—history-rosa-parksRosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man launched the 1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and the birth of the civil rights movement, is born in Tuskeege, Ala. – 1913

Unemployment demonstrations take place in major U.S. cities – 1932

Thirty-seven thousand maritime workers on the West Coast strike for wage increases – 1937

President Barack Obama imposes $500,000 caps on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving federal bailout money, saying Americans are upset with “executives being rewarded for failure” – 2009
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