January 19: Dreaming of Joe Hill

On this day in 1915, IWW organizer Joe Hill (not Jewish) was arrested for murder in Salt Lake City. His trial was considered a frame-up and his conviction was widely protested (by Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller, among others). A writer of labor songs and parodies, Joe Hill was himself immortalized in 1930 in a […]

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January 11: Bread and Roses

The Lawrence, Massachusetts textile workers strike, led by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or Wobblies), began on this day in 1912. It lasted two months and united thousands of women of varying ethnicities who spoke dozens of languages among them. The strike later became known as the “Bread and Roses strike,” after a […]

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December 26: Pauline Newman, Rent Striker

On this day in 1907, sixteen-year-old Pauline Newman launched a rent strike involving 10,000 families in lower Manhattan, after months of organizing among housewives and teenage sweatshop workers. The strike lasted two weeks and won rent reductions for about 2,000 households. Leaders of the settlement house movement then urged capping rents throughout the city at […]

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December 18: International Migrants Day

In 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared December 18th to be International Migrants Day, to encourage member nations to ratify the UN Convention on Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers (adopted December 18, 1990). The UN estimates that close to 200 million migrants currently live outside the borders of their native […]

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December 8: AFL Is Launched

On this day in 1886, the American Federation of Labor was created by 26 craft unions with Samuel Gompers (a Dutch-born Jew) as president. During his 37-year tenure, procedures for collective bargaining and labor-management contracts were established and trade unionism became an established feature of the American capitalist system. Gompers was a labor conservative who […]

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