Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
August 1—After organizing a strike of metal miners against the Anaconda Company, Wobbly organizer Frank Little is dragged by six masked men from his Butte, Mont., hotel room and hung from the Milwaukee Railroad trestle. Years later writer Dashiell Hammett would recall his early days as a Pinkerton detective agency operative and recount how a mine company representative offered him $5,000 to kill Little. Hammett says he quit the business that night – 1917
August 2—The first General Strike in Canadian history is held in Vancouver, organized as a 1-day political protest against the killing of draft evader and labor activist Albert “Ginger” Goodwin, who had called for a general strike in the event that any worker was drafted against his will – 1918
August 3—Florence Reece dies in Knoxville, Tenn., at 86. She was a Mine Workers union activist and author of Which Side Are You On?, written after her home was ransacked by Harlan County sheriff J.H. Blair and his thugs during a 1931 strike – 1986
(Which Side are You On? The Story of a Song: This wonderful childrens’ book tells the story of a song written in 1931 that has become an anthem for people fighting for their rights all over the world. Florence Reece’s husband Sam, a coal miner in Kentucky, was helping organize a union when all hell broke loose. The company and its hired thugs started attacking miners and their homes, including Reece’s. While bullets flew around her and the couple’s seven children and they took cover under their bed, Florence took out her pencil and started writing—and the song was born.)
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The Worst Day Ever at Work
There are bad days at work, then there are really bad days at work. Here are some really, REALLY bad days at work. Try not to wince. Click here to watch the video.