Saturday, September 22, 2012

On September 22

On this day in ...
... 1919, as detailed in this month's ABA Journal, began "The Great Steel Strike," in which upwards of 365,600 workers U.S. workers walked away from their jobs "at steel mills and furnaces." The strike would last till January 8 of the following year, though it was crippled early on by opposition from law enforcement, judges, and legislatures, all supported by "a hostile public unsympathetic to their demands for an eight-hour day, a six-day workweek and the right to organize without being harassed." Unrest in the steel mills had been kindling for years; among the events that appears to have touched off the strike at that time was the killing of a colleague of the better-known Mother Jones: 47-year-old Fannie Sellins (above right). Born Fannie Mooney in 1872 in New Orleans, she'd become a union organizer after marriage, when she went to work in a St. Louis clothing factory to help support her family. She was shot to death during a union-management conflict in western Pennsylvania. The ABA Journal reports that "within days, her blood-soaked picture was a fixture in union halls," and thus intensified the calls to strike. (Years later, 2 men charged with Sellins' murder would be acquitted.)

(Prior September 22 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

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