On this day in Labor History the year was 1912. That was the day that became known in California as the “Wheatland Riot.” The Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, were trying to organize hop pickers, who worked near the city of Wheatland in Northern California. Living conditions for the hop pickers were rough.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1939. That was the day that the Hatch Act was enacted. The law was named after Senator Carl Hatch, a Democratic Senator from New Mexico. The Hatch Act limits political activity by federal employees. One of the reasons the law was passed was due to allegations of corruption by the Works Progress Administration.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1917. Frank Little, an activist for the Industrial Workers of The World, or Wobblies was lynched near Butte, Montana. His beaten body was found hung off of a railroad trestle. On it was pinned a disturbing note.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1970. That was the day the NFL Players Association went out on strike. The American Football League and the National Football League officially merged that year. Each league had their own player’s association. With the league merger they joined forces into one union.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1965. That was the day that US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law. This federally funded healthcare program provides assistance to one of the country’s most vulnerable populations—the elderly. At the time the law was enacted, many seniors found it difficult, if not impossible, to get private health insurance.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1956. That was the day that an oil tank explosion took the lives of nineteen men fighting a fire at Shamrock Oil and Gas company in the northeast of Dumas, Texas. Dumas was in the Texas panhandle, oil boom country. The day after the tragedy, the Chicago Daily Tribune carried the story of what happened.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1932. That was the day that flames burned in the US Capitol. The US armed forces set fire to a “shanty-town” of unemployed World War I veterans. The veterans had come to the capitol to demand a bonus that had been promised for their service. The payment was not due until 1945. But the nation was in the throes of the Great Depression. Desperate veterans demanded the bonus be paid early.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1903. Labor leader “Mother” Mary Harris Jones was leading a march of child laborers to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home in New York. The long march had begun twenty days before in Philadelphia. Mother Jones was hoping to draw national attention to the plight of child workers.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1990. That was the day that George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA prohibits employment discrimination of people with disabilities, and requires public accommodations be accessible. The passage of the act was the result of years of grassroots organizing by members of the ADA community and their allies.
On this day in Labor History the year was 1898. That was the day that United State armed forces invaded Puerto Rico. The invasion was part of the Spanish-American war. In 1898 the US Department of State, noted “It seems to be conceded that every year we shall be confronted with an increasing surplus of manufactured goods for sale in foreign markets if American operatives and artisans are to be kept employed year round.”