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November 20, 2014

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This Week in Labor History

November 19

Joe Hill, labor leader and songwriter, executed in Utah on what many believe was a framed charge of murder. Before he died he declared: “Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize.” - 1915

(The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon: This is the definitive, well-illustrated biography of Joe Hill, legendary American songwriter and labor hero, with explosive new evidence pointing to his innocence of the crime for which he was executed nearly a century ago. In 1914, Joe Hill was convicted of murder in Utah and sentenced to death by firing squad, igniting international controversy. Many believed Hill was innocent, condemned for his association with the Industrial Workers of the World—the radical Wobblies. Following four years of intensive investigation, William M. Adler gives us the first full-scale biography of Joe Hill, and presents never before published documentary evidence that comes as close as one can to definitively exonerating him.)

The nation’s first automatic toll collection machine is used at the Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey's Garden State Parkway - 1954

The National Writers Union is founded, representing freelance and contract writers and others in the trade. In 1992 it was to merge into and become a local of the United Auto Workers - 1981

November 20

First use of term “scab,” by Albany Typographical Society - 1816

Norman Thomas born, American socialist leader - 1884

The time clock is invented by Willard Bundy, a jeweler in Auburn, N.Y. Bundy’s brother Harlow starts mass producing them a year later - 1888

Rose Pesotta — union organizer, anarchist, and vice president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union — is born.  Pesotta began working in a shirtwaist factory in New York in 1913 and there became involved with ILGWU Local 25.  She went on to organize tirelessly for the union around the country and in 1934 was elected vice president of the ILGWU, the first woman to hold that position. - 1896
photo:  Pesotta with bread for striking workers in Los Angeles, 1941

Mine fire in Telluride, Colo., kills 28 miners, prompts union call for safer work conditions - 1901

A total of 78 miners are killed in an explosion at the Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, W. Va. - 1968

The Great Recession hits high gear when the stock market falls to its lowest level since 1997. Adding to the mess: a burst housing bubble and total incompetence and greed—some of it criminal—on the part of the nation’s largest banks and Wall Street investment firms. Officially, the recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009 - 2008

- compiled/edited by David Prosten, Union Communication Services with additional info/graphics from Today in Labor History.

- compiled/edited by David Prosten, Union Communication Services with additional info/graphics from Today in Labor History

— Compiled by Union Communication Services

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