Today in labour history, Oct 24...
"1892 -- US: Strike of teamsters, salesmen & packers in New Orleans, Louisiana begins. City trade is paralyzed & within a week leads to a General
Strike in support of the demand for a 10-hour work day. Includes blacks & whites working together. On 8 November 30,000 workers walk out, demanding
union recognition, closed shops & hour & wage gains. Joined by non-industrial laborers, such as musicians, clothing workers, clerks, utility workers,
streetcar drivers & printers. Skilled & unskilled, white & black cooperate." From the book Strike! page 65, Brecher.
Notice working class blacks and whites working together in the South in the 1800's. I would think that would surprise most people? Working class
solidarity was strong the world over, and the socialist movement included all workers no matter their racial origins. We're not taught too much in
the state institutions about the working class labour movement, only about those who were exploiting them.
The ten hour work day movement in the US started in 1844 with mill workers signing a petition. In Europe many people, such as Robert Owen, had called
for a reduction in working hours to 10 as early as 1810. Many didn't sign for fear of being fired and blacklisted. The petition was sent to the
government with no success.
The Louisiana strike lasted 48 hours when a settlement was made and a ten hour day agreed on, plus overtime pay. The Board of Trade was not happy
with the strike and it's outcome, and set about destroying the unions by accusing them of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act
court case lasted over seven years and was finally dropped.
Before the ten hour day 14 or more, with no overtime, was the norm. Almost as soon as the ten hour day was won they set about demanding the eight
hour day, 40 hour week, which btw is where May Day (international workers day) came from.
Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers' Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that
it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don't realize that May Day has its
origins here in this country and is as "American" as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of
rebirth and fertility....
The Brief Origins of May Day
One thing they started doing after this, to weaken working class solidarity, was to bring in immigrants, because they were less likely to make a fuss
about working conditions and pay etc. So if you ever wonder why so many immigrants. In fact my landlord does the exact same thing, because he knows
they won't complain about there being no heat etc. (I have so much on my landlord that could send him to jail, so he hasn't raised my rent in years!
Gotta do what ya gotta do)
Just a little working class history. The people who get forgotten, but did more for you than any of the people taught in our history classes in
school. When you support the right wing establishment you disrespect what your ancestors did for you. If it wasn't for the left-wing socialist
workers movements you'd still be working 10 to 16 hours a day with no overtime, no weekends, no holidays, no work safety, very little pay etc. If you
want an idea of what that's like just look at the Apple factory in China. How ironic that America has more of a socialist history than so called
edit on 10/24/2012 by ANOK because: (no reason given)