Today in Labor History: July 8

2014.07.07—history-mother-bloorToday in Labor History: July 8
First anthracite coal strike in U.S. – 1842

Labor organizer Ella Reeve “Mother” Bloor born on Staten Island, N.Y. Among her activities: investigating child labor in glass factories and mines, and working undercover in meat packing plants to verify for federal investigators the nightmarish working conditions that author Upton Sinclair had revealed in The Jungle – 1862

The Pacific Mail Steamship Co. fires all employees who had been working an 8-hour day, then joins with other owners to form the “Ten-Hour League Society” for the purpose of uniting all mechanics “willing to work at the old rates, neither unjust to the laborers nor ruinous to the capital and enterprise of the city and state.” The effort failed – 1867

Founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W., or Wobblies) concludes in Chicago. Charles O. Sherman, a former American Federation of Labor organizer, is elected president – 19052014.07.07—history-rebel-voices
(Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology: Originally published in 1964 and long out of print, Rebel Voices remains by far the biggest and best source on IWW history, fiction, songs, art, and lore.  This edition includes 40 pages of additional material from the 1998 Charles H. Kerr edition by Fred Thompson and Franklin Rosemont, and a new preface by Wobbly organizer Daniel Gross.)

Some 35,000 members of the Machinists union begin what is to become a 43-day strike that shuts down five major U.S. airlines, about three-fifths of domestic air traffic.  The airlines were thriving, and wages were a key issue in the fight – 1966
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