“What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be.” Those words were penned in the opening paragraph of the book Rules for Radicals, whose author, Saul Alinsky was born today in labor history January 30, 1909.
Sometimes you have to sit down in order to stand up for your rights as a worker. That is what workers in the Firestone rubber plant proved in Akron, Ohio today in labor history, January 29, 1936. Akron was the heart of the rubber industry in the United States, employing 40,000 at its peak.
"The only people whose names are recorded in history are those who did something. The peaceful and indifferent are forgotten; they never know the fighting joy of living." Those words were spoken in Seattle by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, today in labor history, January 28, 1917. Flynn certainly embraced the “fighting joy of living,” as a leader in the Industrial Workers of the World. She became a full time organizer for the IWW in 1907.
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.”