Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
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.)
May 23—The Battle of Toledo begins today: a five-day running battle between roughly 6,000 strikers at the Electric Auto-Lite company of Toledo, Ohio, and 1,300 members of the Ohio National Guard. Two strikers died and more than 200 were injured. The battle began in the sixth week of what ultimately became a successful two-month fight for union recognition and higher pay. One guardsman told a Toledo Blade reporter: “Our high school graduation is … tonight and we were supposed to be getting our diplomas” – 1934
May 24—After 14 years of construction and the deaths of 27 workers, the Brooklyn Bridge over New York’s East River opens. Newspapers call it “the eighth wonder of the world” – 1883
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Labor Video: IBEW Keeps San Francisco’s Cable Cars Rolling
They are one of San Francisco’s most iconic images—the cable car. And keeping the world’s last permanently operational manually operated cable car system up and running are members of San Francisco IBEW Local 6. Click here to watch the video.