Today in Labor History: March 23

Trial of 101 Wobblies, charged with opposing the draft and hindering the war effort, begins in Chicago – 1918
(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 preface by Wobbly organizer Daniel Gross.)

Norris-La Guardia Act restricts injunctions against unions and bans yellow dog contracts, which require newly-hired workers to declare they are not union members and will not join one – 1932

Five days into the Post Office’s first mass work stoppage in 195 years, President Nixon declares a national emergency and orders 30,000 troops to New York City to break the strike. The troops didn’t have a clue how to sort and deliver mail: a settlement came a few days later – 1970

Coalition of Labor Union Women founded in Chicago by some 3,000 delegates from 58 unions and other organizations – 1974

Fifteen workers die, another 170 are injured when a series of explosions rip through BP’s Texas City refinery. Investigators blamed a poor safety culture at the plant and found BP management gave priority to cost savings over worker safety – 2005
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