The Post Office’s first mass work stoppage in 195 years. Three workers are killed, five injured during a test of the Space Shuttle Columbia. American Federation of Labor issues a charter to a new Building Trades Department. Striking workers at Brown & Sharpe in Kingstown, R.I. are tear-gassed by state and local police. Trial of 101 Wobblies, charged with opposing the draft and hindering the war effort, begins in Chicago. Groundbreaking begins on the first section of the New York City subway system.
Luddites smash 63 “labor saving” textile machines. The first tunnel under the Hudson River is completed. A four-month UAW strike at General Motors ends with a new contract. The movie Salt of the Earth opens. Staffers at San Francisco progressive rock station KMPX-FM strike.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt names Frances Perkins to be secretary of labor. Soldiers shot down Crispus Attucks, a Black colonist, then others, in what became known as the Boston Massacre. Joe Hill’s song “There is Power in a Union” appears in Little Red Song Book. IWW founder and labor organizer Lucy Parsons dies. The Norris-LaGuardia Anti-Injunction Act took effect on this day. U.S. Congress begins its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.
100,000 strong rallied at the Wisconsin state Capitol in protest of crippled public employee bargaining rights. Bethlehem Steel workers strike for union recognition. Birth of John Steinbeck. The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is organized. After five years of labor by 21,000 workers, 112 of whom were killed on the job, the Hoover Dam (Boulder Dam) is completed. Postal workers granted 8-hour day. The Davis-Bacon Act takes effect.
One of the first American labor newspapers, The Man, is published in New York City. Farm Labor Organizing Committee signs agreement with Campbell Soup Co., ending 7-year boycott. Rally for unemployed becomes major confrontation in Philadelphia, 18 arrested for demanding jobs. United Farm Workers of America granted a charter by the AFL-CIO. W.E.B. DuBois, educator and civil rights activist, born. Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” following a frigid trip—partially by hitchhiking, partially by rail—from California to Manhattan.