Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
February 21—A state law was enacted in California providing the 8-hour day for most workers, but it was not effectively enforced – 1868
February 22—Albert Shanker dies at age 68. He served as president of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1984 and of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997 – 1997
February 23—Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” following a frigid trip—partially by hitchhiking, partially by rail—from California to Manhattan. The Great Depression was still raging. Guthrie had heard Kate Smith’s recording of “God Bless America” and resolved to himself: “We can’t just bless America, we’ve got to change it” – 1940
(Woody Guthrie: A Life: Folksinger and political activist Woody Guthrie contributed much to the American labor movement, not the least of which are his classic anthems “Union Maid” and “This Land Is Your Land.” This is perhaps his best-ever biography, written by bestselling author Joe Klein (Primary Colors, The Running Mate,) now reissued in paperback with a new afterword. It is an easy-to-read, honest description of Guthrie’s life, from a childhood of poverty to a youth spent “bummin’ around” to an adulthood of music and organizing—and a life cut short by incurable disease.)
—Click here for the complete posting.
Labor Video: Drowning the Working Class
Robert Reich connects the dots to show how a range of positions, on issues ranging from the minimum wage to unemployment insurance to food stamps, work together to keep poor and working families in desperate situations—and calls on all of us to do something about it. Click here to watch the video.