Illinois Labor History Society

Illinois Labor History Society Nation's oldest popular labor history society, devoted to Illinois worker history. The Illinois Labor History Society (ILHS) was formed on August 5, 1969 in the office of the late Joseph M.

Jacobs, attorney for the Chicago Teachers Union, Meatcutters, and other labor organizations.

Jacobs, attorney for the Chicago Teachers Union, Meatcutters, and other labor organizations.

Operating as usual

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler
10/14/2021
Taking the lead at the AFL-CIO

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler

Liz Shuler’s ascension to AFL-CIO chief comes at a critical time for the nation’s largest labor group, which is grappling with declining union membership, union-busting corporate giants and a Democratic Congress that is struggling to pass pro-worker priorities.

Victory to UAW/Deere!UAW John Deere members struck at midnight October 14, after the company failed to present an agreem...
10/14/2021
UAW Members at John Deere Strike for Improved Standard of Living, Retirement Benefits and a Better Work Environment | UAW

Victory to UAW/Deere!

UAW John Deere members struck at midnight October 14, after the company failed to present an agreement that met our members’ demands and needs.

“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, Vice President and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department. “We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved.”

UAW John Deere members struck at midnight October 14, after the company failed to present an agreement that met our members’ demands and needs. “Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, Vi...

On this day in labor history, the year was 1976. That was the day more than a million Canadian workers walked off the jo...
10/14/2021
October 14 A Day of Protest in Canada

On this day in labor history, the year was 1976. That was the day more than a million Canadian workers walked off the job in a Day of Protest. The Canadian Labour Congress called the general strike.

Workers downed their tools against a three-year wage controls plan implemented by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Trudeau had actually campaigned against wage controls during the 1974 elections. A year later, the Liberal government introduced the C-73 Anti-Inflation Bill. It was considered the worst attack on labor since the 1930s, when bargaining rights were first legalized.

Trudeau’s wage controls suspended collective bargaining rights for all workers and amounted to deep wage cuts. Public sector workers were hit hardest as many hospital, school and municipal workers teetered on the edge of desperation from already low wages made worse.

But for a day at least, many industries across Canada came to a screeching halt. Forestry, mining and auto production all completely shut down. Many towns and cities were one hundred percent on strike, even among the non-union workforce.

Saint John in New Brunswick, Sudbury, Ontario, Sept Iles, Quebec and Thompson in Manitoba were all cities where the strike was most successful. But elsewhere, the strike was uneven. Many public sector workers stayed on the job, while in cities like Vancouver, pickets successfully shut down bus service and newspaper deliveries.

Most heralded the Day of Protest as a fierce show of power against a years’ worth of wage controls. But others argued that a one-day action was not enough. To combat the attacks on labor, any general strike would have to keep the country shut down until the program of wage controls was finally defeated.

On this day in labor history, the year was 1976. That was the day more than a million Canadian workers walked off the job in a Day of Protest. The Canadian Labour Congress called the general strike. Workers downed their tools against a three-year wage c...

Rebuilding Chicago and the fire's impact
10/13/2021
How the Great Fire changed Chicago architecture

Rebuilding Chicago and the fire's impact

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 — terrible, costly, deadly — changed the city in myriad ways. And it had a big hand in making Chicago an architectural capital.

From the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District - Historical Photo of the Day: Workers pause for a photo along 16th Str...
10/13/2021

From the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District - Historical Photo of the Day: Workers pause for a photo along 16th Street in Lockport, Illinois, during canal extension construction between 1905 and 1907.

From the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District - Historical Photo of the Day: Workers pause for a photo along 16th Street in Lockport, Illinois, during canal extension construction between 1905 and 1907.

On this day in labor history, the year was 2010. That was the day thirty-three Chilean miners were finally pulled to saf...
10/13/2021
October 13 An International Rescue Effort

On this day in labor history, the year was 2010. That was the day thirty-three Chilean miners were finally pulled to safety after being trapped for sixty-nine days.

Workers had been mining copper and gold twenty three hundred feet down, at the San Jose mine near the northern city of Copiapo, when the mine caved in, in early August. The Compania Minera San Esteban Primera waited several hours to notify authorities and rescue efforts only began two days later.

Trapped miners initially tried to escape through ventilation shafts but found required ladders missing. Each route they attempted was blocked by fallen rock or threatened additional collapse. A state owned mining company took over rescue efforts and soon they began, as Geologist Sorena Sorensen noted, prospecting for people.

Initial exploratory boreholes failed to locate miners because mineshaft maps had never been updated. Rescuers had no idea whether miners were even still alive.

Finally, seventeen days later, the eighth borehole reached them. The miners tapped on the drill and taped notes to it, alerting rescuers above they were indeed alive and well. Food, medicine and other supplies were lowered down to them as rescue efforts intensified.

Mini cameras were also lowered down and the miners videotaped messages of their continued ordeal. They told how they continued to search for possible escape routes and agreed to ration their limited food supplies so they could all survive.

The first of three drilling plans to free the miners began. It was an international effort. The Chilean Navy consulted with NASA to design and construct the rescue pods. Throughout the entire process, rescuers worked to prevent additional cave-ins and rock falls.

Finally the extraction process began and in less than 48 hours all emerged as heroes.

On this day in labor history, the year was 2010. That was the day thirty-three Chilean miners were finally pulled to safety after being trapped for sixty-nine days. Workers had been mining copper and gold twenty three hundred feet down, at the San Jose mi...

John L Lewis Illinois State Historical Society marker dedication, Panama, IL, Nov 5, 1:00 p.m. -- all are welcome.
10/12/2021

John L Lewis Illinois State Historical Society marker dedication, Panama, IL, Nov 5, 1:00 p.m. -- all are welcome.

John L Lewis Illinois State Historical Society marker dedication, Panama, IL, Nov 5, 1:00 p.m. -- all are welcome.

John L Lewis historic marker unveiling, 1 p.m., Panama, Illinois, November 5.
10/12/2021

John L Lewis historic marker unveiling, 1 p.m., Panama, Illinois, November 5.

John L Lewis historic marker unveiling, 1 p.m., Panama, Illinois, November 5.

On this day in labor history, the year was 1899. That was the day union miners in Mt. Olive, Illinois began commemoratin...
10/12/2021
October 12 - Miners Day

On this day in labor history, the year was 1899. That was the day union miners in Mt. Olive, Illinois began commemorating Miners Day.

Every year thousands came into town for a parade, music and speeches. Mt. Olive was the site of the only union-owned cemetery in the United States, established by UMWA local 728, in the aftermath of the Virden massacre.

A year before to the day, striking miners had been killed in a shoot out with company guards attempting to herd scabs into the mines in Virden, Illinois. But, as Mother Jones’ biographer, Eliot Gorn notes, the “train never unloaded its cargo and the company was forced to settle.”

The union hoped to erect a gravesite monument commemorating those miners who had been killed at Virden. But they were refused by those who considered the fallen miners to be murderers, not martyrs. That’s when the UMW established the Union Miners Cemetery.

On this day, nearly 10,000 turned out for the union’s memorial ceremony. The UMW unveiled a monument dedicated to fallen Virden miners, E.W. Smith, Joe Gitterle, Ernst Kaemmerer and E.F. Long. The day was filled with parades, music, laying of wreaths and speeches.

Haymarket widow and radical activist, Lucy Parsons was among the speakers. In his book Death and Dying in the Working Class, Michael Rosenow notes that her presence drew a direct connection between the fallen miners and the Haymarket martyrs, cut down while advancing the cause of labor.

Thousands traveled to Mt. Olive every year for celebrations, including Eugene Debs, miners’ leader John Mitchell and Mother Jones. In 1923, Mother Jones asked to be buried among Illinois miners, noting “they are responsible for Illinois being the best organized labor state in America.”

On this day in labor history, the year was 1899. That was the day union miners in Mt. Olive, Illinois began commemorating Miners Day. Every year thousands came into town for a parade, music and speeches. Mt. Olive was the site of the only union-owned ceme...

Pleased to speak to Illinois State University future primary school social studies teachers on social justice and labor ...
10/12/2021

Pleased to speak to Illinois State University future primary school social studies teachers on social justice and labor issues today, at the McLean County Museum of History, with Librarian Bill Kemp.

Pleased to speak to Illinois State University future primary school social studies teachers on social justice and labor issues today, at the McLean County Museum of History, with Librarian Bill Kemp.

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Historical Photo of the Day: The 8 Track Rail Bridge over the Chicago Sanitary a...
10/11/2021

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Historical Photo of the Day: The 8 Track Rail Bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on January 23, 1909, showing a crew at work between tracks on the northern approach of bridge.

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Historical Photo of the Day: The 8 Track Rail Bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on January 23, 1909, showing a crew at work between tracks on the northern approach of bridge.

The battle of Virden...
10/11/2021
The Battle of Virden

The battle of Virden...

John Alexander recounts the circumstances leading up to the gun battle between mine guards for the Chicago-Virden Coal Company and coal miners – members of the United Mine Workers of America -- who were locked out of their jobs. And, on Labor History in 2:00, the year was 1933; that was the day th...

On this day in labor history, the year was 1965. That was the day acclaimed photojournalist Dorothea Lange died. She is ...
10/11/2021
October 11 The Woman Behind the Lens Passes On

On this day in labor history, the year was 1965. That was the day acclaimed photojournalist Dorothea Lange died.

She is celebrated for her work documenting the Great Depression for the Farm Security Bureau. Lange’s photos captured images of migrant workers, sharecroppers and the rural poor.

Her iconic photo, Migrant Mother, is probably her most well known image. It depicts a despondent, Dust Bowl mother surrounded by her hungry children.

Lange was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1895. She suffered the effects of polio as a child, which left her with a permanent limp. She studied photography at Columbia University in New York, and eventually settled in the Bay Area.

When the Great Depression hit, she began photographing labor strikes, breadlines and soup kitchens, the homeless and unemployed. The Resettlement Administration hired her soon after.

Nowadays, we can access images from around the world at a moment’s notice that broaden our understanding of current events. But until the 1930s, few Americans could access media that adequately depicted the desperate social conditions engulfing the nation. Federal programs that funded projects like Lange’s brought Depression-era images into the public eye. Americans soon realized their suffering wasn’t caused by personal failure; that millions across the country were experiencing destitution brought on by broader economic forces.

During World War II, Lange worked for the War Relocation Authority, where she documented forced evacuation and internment of Japanese-Americans. Her images, especially of Manzanar, were withheld from the public until after the war and were accessible to the public through the National Archives.

After the war, she taught at San Francisco’s Art Institute and cofounded the magazine Aperture. She has been heralded as an innovator and has influenced generations of documentary photography.

From 2017:
https://laborhistoryin2.podbean.com/e/october-11-the-woman-behind-the-lens-passes-on/

On this day in labor history, the year was 1965. That was the day acclaimed photojournalist Dorothea Lange died. She is celebrated for her work documenting the Great Depression for the Farm Security Bureau. Lange’s photos captured images of migrant worke...

On this day in labor history, the year was 1912. That was the day mill workers began to walk off the job at the Phoenix ...
10/10/2021
October 10 Mill Workers Strike

On this day in labor history, the year was 1912. That was the day mill workers began to walk off the job at the Phoenix and Gilbert Knitting Mills in Little Falls, New York.

The strike was sandwiched between the Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts and the 1913 Paterson textile strike. American, Hungarian, Polish and Italian workers, over 70% of them women, struck against wage reductions. Their hours had just been cut from 60 hours a week to 54, and their wages adjusted accordingly.

A recent factory inspection commission investigation revealed deplorable working and living conditions, among the worst in the state. As a result, state legislators passed protective legislation restricting women’s work hours.

Many social reformers pushed for laws like these in the hopes of improving women’s quality of life by minimizing their exploitation on the job. But reduction in hours spelled disaster for these mill women, who then faced a loss of income that ranged from 75 cents to $2 a week.

Socialists in nearby Schenectady, including the socialist mayor George Lunn, arrived in town and were promptly arrested for giving open-air speeches in support of the strikers. IWW organizers soon followed to help organize picketing, daily strike parades and strike committees at each of the factories. They quickly established IWW Local 801, National Industrial Union of Textile Workers.

By the end of the month, mounted police closed in on the women strikers and began clubbing them, many into unconsciousness. The police raided strike headquarters and arrested IWW strike committee leaders. But the women strikers stood strong and were celebrating victory by the beginning of the year. They won full reinstatement and 54 hours work for 60 hours pay.

On this day in labor history, the year was 1912. That was the day mill workers began to walk off the job at the Phoenix and Gilbert Knitting Mills in Little Falls, New York. The strike was sandwiched between the Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Massach...

On this day in labor history, the year was 1823. That was the day abolitionist and women’s suffragist, Mary Ann Shadd Ca...
10/09/2021
October 9 Mary Ann Shadd Cary is Born

On this day in labor history, the year was 1823. That was the day abolitionist and women’s suffragist, Mary Ann Shadd Cary was born.

Her parents were free blacks of color in the slave state of Delaware. They were involved with many prominent abolitionists and active in the Underground Railroad. The family moved to Pennsylvania, where Mary and her siblings were educated in Quaker schools.

As a young woman, Mary became a teacher and returned to Wilmington, Delaware where she opened a school for black children. Once the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850, Mary and many other free blacks fled to Canada to continue their abolitionist work safely.

She opened a school for fugitive slaves in Windsor, Ontario just across the river from Detroit. Mary soon came under fire in the local press for insisting the school be racially integrated. She responded by starting her own newspaper, The Provincial Freeman.

She and her husband, Thomas often traveled to the United States to continue their anti-slavery work. They were present at John Brown’s 1858 Constitutional Convention. Mary worked with Osborne Perry Anderson to publish his 1861 memoir, A Voice from Harper’s Ferry. Anderson had participated in Brown’s raid and was the lone African-American survivor.

After her husband’s death, Mary returned to the United States with her children to help recruit black soldiers to the Union Army. Once the Civil War was over, Mary moved to Washington D.C to teach. She enrolled in Howard University where she earned a law degree.

There she joined the National Woman Suffrage Association and worked with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. She continued to advocate for civil rights and women’s equality until her death in 1893.

On this day in labor history, the year was 1823. That was the day abolitionist and women’s suffragist, Mary Ann Shadd Cary was born. Her parents were free blacks of color in the slave state of Delaware. They were involved with many prominent abolitionists...

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Special Labor Day Speaker 2021 Our Accomplishments and Challenges – Past to Present Saturday Sept 4th College of Complexes at 6:00 PM CT, Zoom Meeting # 3,632 - Mark Burrows of the United Transportation Union and Railroad Workers United All meetings open to the public Next open dates: October 2, 9, 30 Contact Program Coordinator [email protected] to speak Main Page http://www.collegeofcomplexes.org/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/collegeofcomplexes/ To Join the Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81216467150 Passcode 094136 Mobile phone +13126266799,,81216467150# US (Chicago) Landline +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) Meeting ID: 812 1646 7150
Special Labor Day Speaker 2021 Our Accomplishments and Challenges – Past to Present Saturday Sept 4th College of Complexes at 6:00 PM CT, Zoom Meeting # 3,632 - Mark Burrows Mark Burrows is a retired locomotive engineer, having worked 37 years in the industry. He served as delegate, representing Local #1433 of SMART-TD (formerly United Transportation Union) at its 2011 and 2014 International Conventions. For over 10 years he has been active in Railroad Workers United (RWU). He has regularly written a commentary for, and has recently taken over publishing RWU’s quarterly newsletter, The Highball. RWU RWU is a cross-craft, inter-union caucus of rank & file railroad workers who advocate for unity amongst the 13 rail unions, across North America, in order to more effectively fight for safe working conditions, as well as dignity on and off the job. RWU advocates for solidarity with the labor movement in general, in alliance with activists for social, economic and climate justice. Lac Megantic Speaker has also given public presentations explaining the facts about the Lac Megantic crude oil tank car rail tragedy, in the context of the potential hazards communities continue to face due to unsafe railroad operations All meetings open to the public Next open dates: October 2, 9, 23, 30 Contact Program Coordinator [email protected] to speak Main Page http://www.collegeofcomplexes.org/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/collegeofcomplexes/ To Join the Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81216467150 Passcode 094136 Mobile phone +13126266799,,81216467150# US (Chicago) Landline +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) Meeting ID: 812 1646 7150
I wish the vaccine lottery was set up for each district having it's own winners. Give each district a million dollar winning pick and some $50,000 and $25,000 picks.
College of Complexes weekly free speech forum Next Open Dates August 14, 21, 28, September 4 Contact Program Coordinator Charles Paidock at [email protected] if you would like to speak Main Page http://www.collegeofcomplexes.org/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/collegeofcomplexes/ To Join the Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81216467150 Passcode 094136 Mobile phone +13126266799,,81216467150# US (Chicago) Landline +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) Meeting ID: 812 1646 7150
Please share widely. Preview and discussion Thursday, May 20. Film premiere Friday, March 21.
Today's Labor Quote: Big Bill Haywood A founding member (in Chicago, 1905) and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World, Haywood died in exile in the Soviet Union on this date in 1928. “For every dollar the boss has and didn’t work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn’t get it.”
Saturday, May 22nd at 11:30 AM CT Tinyurl.com/SOARMemorialDay Virtual Event on YouTube commemorating the The Memorial Day massacre an incident in 1937 in which Chicago police attacked strikers of steel companies that had refused to enter into written contracts of any type with SWOC / the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, an affiliate of the CIO. HISTORY https://libcom.org/history/memorial-day-massacre
It's 1:12 a.m. May 1st. Neither the facebook nor the links that I have are working. "Host has not opened this event." Suggestions?
Independent Voters of Illinois Supports Passage of New Organized Labor Law Charles Paidock, Chair, National Affairs Committee Press Release http://www.iviipona.org/Independent-Voters-of-Illinois-Supports-Passage-of-New-Organized-Labor-Law.html
AFL-CIO / Friday: PRO Act Call-In Day Call Your Senators—Pass the PRO Act! The House passed the PRO Act on March 9, 2021, sending the bill to the U.S. Senate. Use this form and we’ll connect you to your U.S. senators: Tell them to vote “yes” on the PRO Act.
Special May Day Speaker The Entire History of Work in ½ Hour College of Complexes Saturday, May 1st at 6:00 PM CT, Zoom Meeting # 3,614 - labor activist Charles Paidock the story of the human activity termed labor from the cavemen to computers, from working for yourself on the farm, to working for another in a factory Special May Day Speaker The Entire History of Work in ½ Hour College of Complexes Main Page www.collegeofcomplexes.org Facebook https://www.facebook.com/collegeofcomplexes/ To Join the Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81216467150 Passcode 094136 Mobile phone +13126266799,,81216467150# US (Chicago) Landline +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) Meeting ID: 812 1646 7150