Today in Labor History: May 22
Eugene V. Debs imprisoned in Woodstock, Ill., for role in Pullman strike – 1895
(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)
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Labor Humor: Final Bequest
Joe had been a cantankerous worker all his life—every week he complained to the union steward about something and was never satisfied with the outcome. Still, when he suffered a heart attack his steward visited him in the hospital and was there as Joe spoke his final words to his family:
“Junior, I want you to take the Park Ave. houses.”
“Alice, you take the apartments over on Madison Ave.”
“Tom, the offices on Broadway are yours.”
The steward was amazed at Joe’s words and said to his wife, “How on earth did Joe accumulate all these properties?”
Joe’s wife replied, “What property? Joe managed three paper routes!”
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