After an election, have you ever found yourself scratching your head, wondering why it seems that working people vote for candidates that do not represent their interests? Well, that feeling is nothing new. Back in 1912, Ernest Riebe of the Industrial Workers of the World created a comic strip character, Mr. Block.
Today in labor history, January 24, 1950 the minimum wage in the United States was raised to 75 cents an hour. This move nearly doubled the minimum wage, from the previous level of 40 cents. 22 million people were eligible for this wage increase. In his statement on the change President Harry Truman declared, “It is a measure dictated by social justice. It adds to our economic strength. It is founded on the belief that full human dignity requires at least a minimum level of economic sufficiency and security.”
Today in labor history, January 20, 1909, marked one of deadliest workplace disasters in Chicago history. It took place a little over a mile off-shore near 71st Street, on Lake Michigan. A group of predominantly Irish laborers were working on a tunnel to bring fresh water to the city’s growing south side.
On This Day in Labor History, the year was 1920. That was the day 3,000 members of the Filipino Labor Union went on strike against the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association on the island of Oahu. Plantation Bosses intentionally recruited Filipino workers, in an effort to weaken the Japanese labor force on the island. The bosses pitted one group as strikebreakers against the other.