Today in Labor History: September 3
African-American cotton pickers organize and strike in Lee County, Texas, against miserably low wages and other injustices, including a growers’ arrangement with local law enforcement to round up blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations. Over the course of September a white mob put down the strike, killing 15 strikers in the process – 1891
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Member Tip: Labor’s International Connections
The first president of the AFL, Samuel Gompers, worked hard in the aftermath of World War I to establish the International Labor Organization (ILO). This organization, now a specialized international agency of the United Nations, has a tripartite structure, meaning equal representation from governments, employers, and worker organizations. It seeks to open up a “social dialog” to deal with international problems directly affecting workers and to evaluate the standards for workers around the world.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer