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    Today in Labor History

    May 20
    The Railway Labor Act takes effect today. It is the first federal legislation protecting workers’ rights to form unions - 1926
     
    Some 9,000 rubber workers strike in Akron, Ohio - 1933
     
    May 21 
    Italian activists and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, widely believed to have been framed for murder, go on trial today. They eventually are executed as part of a government campaign against dissidents - 1921
     
    The “Little Wagner Act” is signed in Hawaii, guaranteeing pineapple and sugar workers the right to bargain collectively.  After negotiations failed, a successful 79-day strike shut down 33 of the territory’s 34 plantations and brought higher wages and a 40-hour week - 1945
     
    Nearly 100,000 unionized SBC Communications Inc. workers begin a 4-day strike to protest the local phone giant’s latest contract offer - 2004
     
    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.)
     
    While white locomotive firemen on the Georgia Railroad strike, Blacks who are hired as replacements are whipped and stoned—not by the union men, but by white citizens outraged that Blacks are being hired over Whites.  The Engineers union threatens to stop work because their members are being affected by the violence - 1909
     
    Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 gives federal workers a pension - 1920
     
    President Lyndon B. Johnson announces the goals of his Great Society social reforms: to bring “an end to poverty and racial injustice” in America - 1964

    - compiled/edited by David Prosten at Union Communication Services.
     

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