MLK at the AFL-CIO in 1961

January 16, 2022 @ 12:28 pm

On December 11, 1961, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the AFL-CIO’s Fourth Constitutional Convention at the Americana Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.
The speech is not long, just 30 minutes, but it’s tremendously historic, both in its content and its timing. In this speech, King connected the civil rights movement and labor movement, calling them “the two most dynamic and cohesive liberal forces in the country.” King encouraged the AFL-CIO to "help erase all vestiges of racial discrimination in American life, including labor unions," as well as to provide financial support to the civil rights movement.
Until recently this speech only existed on a reel of tape in the Meany Labor Archives at the University of Maryland College Park, but for this year’s AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference (Jan. 16-17 online) the AFL-CIO and the Archives digitized the speech and gave us permission to bring it to you here on Labor History Today. Labor historian Joe McCartin tells us how had King come to be there, the context for his quiet but powerful challenge to the American labor movement, and what that speech says to us now, 61 years later.
Our other story today is the perfect follow-up to Dr. King’s speech; it’s about the fight by DC trash collector Marvin Fleming and his union, AFSCME, against job discrimination in the 1960’s.
On this week’s Labor History in Two: Give Us Our Daily Bread (1898) and Standing Against Wage Theft (1915).

Questions, comments or suggestions welcome, and to find out how you can be a part of Labor History Today, email us at LaborHistoryToday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.

#LaborRadioPod #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle @GeorgetownKILWP #LaborHistory @UMDMLA @ILLaborHistory @AFLCIO @StrikeHistory #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle #LaborHistory @AFSCME @AFSCMEArchivist @JosephMcCartin

SEE ALSO:
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Speech to AFL-CIO
Exploring Dr. King’s Radical Legacy
Trumka in Memphis: We’re Reaching for that Mountaintop

This week's music: Ain't gonna let nobody turn me round (The Roots); Everybody's Got A Right To Live: Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick & Jimmy Collier and The Soul Chance; Woke up this morning (The Freedom Singers).

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Who was Zelda D’Aprano?

January 9, 2022 @ 6:50 pm

On this week’s show, one day in 1969, a working woman by the name of Zelda D’Aprano took her lunch break, and proceeded to chain herself to the front door of a busy building in Melbourne, Australia in a protest that caused a sensation. What was Zelda protesting about? We find out from our friends Down Under at the On The Job podcast.
On this week’s Labor History in Two: the 1922 Chicago building trades split; in 1939, Missouri farmers and their families begin a highway sit in; and in 2003, do national security concerns outweigh the right of workers to form a union?

Questions, comments or suggestions welcome, and to find out how you can be a part of Labor History Today, email us at LaborHistoryToday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.

#LaborRadioPod #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle @GeorgetownKILWP #LaborHistory @UMDMLA @ILLaborHistory @AFLCIO @StrikeHistory #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle #LaborHistory

This week's music: Lola Wright sings the Equal Pay song; #LeaveAt343-Growing Up Gracefully.

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Women in the coal mines; Billionaires in Space

January 2, 2022 @ 9:00 am

On this week’s show, Kipp Dawson, a woman coal miner active in the women miners' movement of the 1970s, '80s and '90s, on women's empowerment and recent labor history. Kim comes to us from the Willamette Wake Up Labor Report, which airs on KMUZ in Salem, Oregon.

Then, the DC Labor Chorus on Billionaires in Space and, on this week’s Labor History in Two: industrial unionists hold a secret meeting in Chicago.

Questions, comments or suggestions welcome, and to find out how you can be a part of Labor History Today, email us at LaborHistoryToday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.

#LaborRadioPod #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle @GeorgetownKILWP #LaborHistory @UMDMLA @ILLaborHistory @AFLCIO @StrikeHistory #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle 

This week's music: We Were There, Billionaires in Space and Nancy on the Med-Surge floor, all from the DC Labor Chorus’ 2021 Holiday Concert.

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Labor’s Untold Stories

December 26, 2021 @ 4:54 pm

On this week’s show, the history of one of labor’s most well-known songs, “Which Side Are You On?” from Labor’s Untold Stories, a brand-new labor history radio show, hosted by Marty Horning every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CST on Riverwest Radio, WXRW in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and available on Soundcloud). The show takes listeners on a journey through the rich history of labor’s struggles for a better world for all, using narratives, songs, and interviews and we’re very pleased to welcome Marty and his show to the growing family of labor history radio shows and podcasts.
On this week’s Labor History in Two: the year was 1914. That was the day garment workers gathered in New York City to found the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

Questions, comments or suggestions welcome, and to find out how you can be a part of Labor History Today, email us at LaborHistoryToday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.

#LaborRadioPod #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle @GeorgetownKILWP #LaborHistory @UMDMLA @ILLaborHistory @AFLCIO @StrikeHistory #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle #LaborHistory @AFLCIO

This week's music: Which Side Are You On? REMIX - Rebel Diaz ft. Dead Prez and Rakaa Iriscience, plus versions by Florence Reese, Pete Seeger and The Dropkick Murphys.  

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Striketober & The Great Resignation: Take this job and shove it!

December 19, 2021 @ 1:36 pm

This week’s show explores the question of how “Striketober” and “The Great Resignation” happened simultaneously. Union organizing and strikes surged this Fall while millions of workers quit their jobs. Labor historian Gabriel Winant spoke about “Putting the current labor upheaval in historical context” at a December 10 labor history discussion hosted by the East Side Freedom Library in St Paul, Minnesota. Winant is the author of The Next Shift: The Fall of Manufacturing and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America and his latest essay, Strike Wave, was published in the British journal New Left Review in late November. Winant’s historical perspective seems especially useful as we look ahead to a new year and a rejuvenated labor movement, and we’ve included an inspiring report on local organizing in St Paul bookstores: these are the sparks that are firing the tinder of worker discontent across the country.

On this week’s Labor History in Two: the year was 1945. That was the day workers ended their ninety-nine-day strike against the Ford Motor Company in Windsor, Ontario.

Questions, comments or suggestions welcome, and to find out how you can be a part of Labor History Today, email us at LaborHistoryToday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.

This week's music: Take This Job and Shove It: Moonshine Bandits, Dead Kennedys, Canibus With Biz Markie.

#LaborRadioPod #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle @GeorgetownKILWP #LaborHistory @UMDMLA @ILLaborHistory @AFLCIO @StrikeHistory #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle #LaborHistory @AFLCIO @LaborHeritage1 @ESFLibrary @UChicagoHistory @NewLeftReview

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The first pay equity strike; Massachusetts’ longest strike

December 12, 2021 @ 10:00 am

In the late 1970s, San Jose city employees were frustrated with flat wages and pay inequities for women workers. They believed that job categories dominated by women were undervalued and underpaid, and they proved it through a multi-year campaign for pay equity led by AFSCME Local 101/Municipal Employees Federation, AFSCME Council 57. Their efforts went a long way towards closing pay gaps, but it wouldn’t have happened without a strike in 1981. AFSCME secretary-treasurer Elissa McBride brings us the story of the first pay equity strike in U.S. history.

In December of 1954, Boston meatpackers in CIO Local 11 were just over a month into a strike against the Colonial Provision Company. That strike went on to make history, continuing for 14 months, the longest in Massachusetts history. Interracial cooperation was also a hallmark of the struggle by the Boston meatpackers, who were also redbaited and had their union decertified.  The story of how these workers fought back – and won – is still inspiring and has lessons for today’s battles.

On this week’s Labor History in Two: the year was 1947. That was the day that the United Mine Workers leader, John L. Lewis wrote the AFL stating “We disaffiliate.”

Questions, comments or suggestions welcome, and to find out how you can be a part of Labor History Today, email us at LaborHistoryToday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.

Our story of the Boston meatpacker strike came from the film Glory Days: Boston Colonial Packinghouse Workers Recall the Strike of 1954 – 55, produced and directed by Cynthia McKeown, released in 1988; remastered in 2019. Labor history sources include Today in Labor History, compiled by David Prosten.

This week's music: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton (plus a funk cover by Love Raptor) and Celebration by Kool and the Gang, both top hits in 1981, the year of the pay equity strike.

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Founding the American Federation of Labor

December 5, 2021 @ 10:00 am

For today’s show, we’re digging deep into our archives while we put together some exciting new shows. This was just our fourth show, released on December 3, 2017, and it features a round-table chat with labor historians Joe McCartin and Leon Fink. Hopefully we’ll be able to get Joe and Leon back in the studio soon for some more of these fascinating chats.
Our topics included the founding of the American Federation of Labor; AFL-CIO President John Sweeney welcoming the collapse of World Trade Organization talks in Seattle, and the birth of Newspaper Guild founder Heywood Broun.
PLUS: Saul Schniderman on miner’s ballads and George Farenthold on the founding of National Nurses United.
Joe McCartin is professor of history at Georgetown University and Executive Director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.
Leon Fink, Professor Emeritus of the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, edits the journal, "Labor: Studies in Working Class History."
Chris Garlock, Union Cities Coordinator for the Metro Washington AFL-CIO, hosts Union City Radio on WPFW 89.3FM.

Questions, comments or suggestions welcome, and to find out how you can be a part of Labor History Today, email us at LaborHistoryToday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.
Labor history sources include Today in Labor History, compiled by David Prosten.

This week's music: Billy Bragg -There Is Power In A Union; Bruce Springsteen - My Hometown; Hazel Dickens - The Mannington Mine Disaster.

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Long live Mother Jones!

November 28, 2021 @ 10:00 am

“I'm Mary Harris Jones. But I'm called a lot of other names: ‘Bolshevik’, ‘Socialist’, ‘The most dangerous woman in America’, ‘The Walking Wrath of God’”.
Today, the Irish-born schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent American union organizer and activist – she preferred “hellraiser” -- is known simply as Mother Jones. She died on November 30, 1930 in Silver Spring, Maryland and on today’s show we feature memories, tributes and re-enactments from her life, from the Labor Heritage Foundation’s Saul Schniderman, Kaiulani Lee, and Loretta Rymer Williams, all bringing Mother Jones to life with vivid tales from a life of tragedy and an unbreakable commitment to fighting for workers that still inspires us today, 91 years after her death.
And, on Labor History in 2:00: The year was 1908. That was the day that an explosion at the coal mine in Marianna, in Washington County Pennsylvania claimed the lives of 154 miners. It was one of the deadliest disasters in US mining history.

Credits/Resources: Empathy Media LabJase Media Service Podcast; Mother Jones marker; The Spirit of Mother Jones - Andy Irvine; Gene Autry sings "The Death of Mother Jones" (1931). 

Produced by Chris Garlock. To contribute a labor history item, email laborhistorytoday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by the Metro Washington Council’s Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University.

#LaborRadioPod #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle @GeorgetownKILWP #LaborHistory @UMDMLA @ILLaborHistory @AFLCIO @StrikeHistory #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle #LaborHistory @AFLCIO @LaborHeritage1

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Murder, Race and (In)Justice

November 21, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

With the trial for the three White men charged with killing Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery now underway in Glynn County, Georgia, it seems like a good time to get a little historical perspective and find out what a murder case in 1930s Mississippi reveals about race relations, criminal justice, and life in the Jim Crow South.
So today, from the archives of the Working History podcast, Karen Cox, Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, discusses her book, Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South, and its tale of a toxic stew of white privilege, racism, and rage.  
As Cox says, “This story offers us a window into how the criminalization of black lives emerged as a means of sustaining white supremacy and control over African Americans in the post-slavery period. It's why,” she says, “so many black southerners migrated out of the region to northern cities like Detroit and Chicago hoping for better—not that they found it. Racism followed African Americans wherever they went.”
Just ask Ahmaud Arbery’s family, nearly a century later.  

And, on Labor History in 2:00: The year was 1945; that was the day that 320,000 United Auto Workers went out on strike against General Motors.

Music: Harmonica Shah Live at The Cove with Jack De Keyzer. 

Produced by Chris Garlock. To contribute a labor history item, email laborhistorytoday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by the Metro Washington Council’s Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University.

#LaborRadioPod #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle @GeorgetownKILWP #LaborHistory @UMDMLA @ILLaborHistory @AFLCIO @StrikeHistory #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle #LaborHistory @AFLCIO @SouthernLaborSA

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Tom Morello holds the line

November 14, 2021 @ 10:00 am

Today’s show features a brand-new song from Tom Morello, who teamed up with grandson and wrote the song "Hold the Line" to honor "every working person fighting for their rights on the picket line." The song and the video seamlessly merge labor history past and present, just like we do here on Labor History Today. Click here for the AFL-CIO’s Strike Map.
On October 26, Michigan Congressman Andy Levin, member of the House Education and Labor Committee, hosted a Special Order Hour to honor the life and work of the late AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, who died on August 5. Before getting elected to Congress, Andy worked for Trumka at the AFL-CIO, and he talks here about Trumka’s working-class roots and the historic role he played in the American labor movement.  
Electrician and journey wire-woman Kim Spicer is a proud member of The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #3, in Queens, New York. Kim talked to the America Works podcast about how she tried numerous other, less fulfilling jobs before apprenticing to become an electrician and why she loves it. She touches on her training, some of the tasks and skills involved in her work, her daily on-the-job routines, and the challenges of being a woman in a traditionally male trade.

And, on Labor History in 2:00: The year was 1938; that was the day that the national Federation of telephone workers was founded in new Orleans Louisiana. 

Produced by Chris Garlock. To contribute a labor history item, email laborhistorytoday@gmail.com

Labor History Today is produced by the Metro Washington Council’s Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University.

#LaborRadioPod #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle @GeorgetownKILWP #LaborHistory @UMDMLA @ILLaborHistory @AFLCIO @StrikeHistory #History #WorkingClass #ClassStruggle #LaborHistory @AFLCIO @tmorello @The_AFM @grandson @LibnOfCongress

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