Today in Labor History December 28

1830s

Today in Labor History December 28, 1835: Seminole Chief Osceola led his warriors in Florida in the Second Seminole War against the United States Army. Roughly 1,600 U.S. troops and 3,000 Seminoles died in the conflict. It was the longest and costliest of the wars the fought against the indigenous people of North America.

1860s

Today in Labor History December 28, 1869: Uriah Stephens founded the Knights of Labor (KOL) on this date. The leadership often denounced socialists and anarchists. Nevertheless, the KOL attracted and spawned many radicals, including Daniel DeLeon. He went on to cofound the IWW and the Socialist Labor Party. Two of the Haymarket martyrs were also KOL members. The KOL also denounced strikes. However, like its more radical cousin, the IWW, it called for the abolition of the wage system. And like the IWW, fought to organize all workers into one big union, including women and immigrants. And, like the IWW, one of the KOL’s slogans was, “An Injury to One is the Concern of All.” The KOL was one of the main organizations behind the Great Upheaval and one of the first labor organization not only to take on the Robber Barons, but to defeat them (if only temporarily).

1870s-1900s

Today in Labor History December 28, 1879: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland, collapsed as a train passes over it, killing 75 people. The collapse was due to construction flaws. 

Today in Labor History December 28, 1908: The 7.1 Mw  Messina earthquake hit Southern Italy, killing between 75,000 and 200,000. About ten minutes after the earthquake, the sea on both sides of the Strait suddenly withdrew. That was followed by a 12-meter (39-foot) tsunami. In total, 3 tsunamis hit, completely destroying the Reggio seafront.

1910s

Today in Labor History December 28, 1912: The first municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco. Just a few years prior, streetcar workers in San Francisco fought a bloody strike against the owners of the previously privately-owned city streetcars.

Today in Labor History December 28, 1918Constance Markievicz, while detained in Holloway prison, became the first woman to be elected Member of Parliament (MP) to the British House of Commons. She was an Irish revolutionary, suffragist and socialist, who fought in the Easter Rising in 1916, when Irish republicans attempted to end British rule and establish an Irish Republic. Originally, they had sentenced her to death for her role in the Rising. However, they commuted her sentence to life imprisonment because she was a woman. During the Rising, she designed the Citizen Army uniform, composed its anthem, and fought in St Stephen’s Green, where she shot a member of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.

1930s

Today in Labor History December 28, 1936: Workers at the Fisher Body plant in Cleveland engaged in a sit-down strike. This was two days before the more famous sit-down strike against General Motors in Flint, Michigan.

1940s

Today in Labor History December 28, 1943: Soviet authorities began Operation Ulussy, the deportation of the Kalmyk nation to Siberia and Central Asia. They forcibly relocated over 93,000 people of Kalmyk nationality in cattle wagons on December 28–31 to forced labor camps. The government accused them all of collaborating with the Nazis based on the roughly 5,000 Kalmyks who fought in the Nazi-affiliated Kalmykian Cavalry Corps. However, over 23,000 Kalmyks served in the Red Army and fought against Axis forces at the same time. The deportation resulted in more than 16,000 deaths. In 1956, Khrushchev rehabilitated The Kalmyks.


Today in Labor History December 28, 1944: President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Army to seize the executive offices of Montgomery Ward and Company after the patriotic corporation failed to comply with a National War Labor Board directive regarding union shops.

3 thoughts on “<strong>Today in Labor History December 28</strong>”

  1. Pingback: Today in Labor History January 21 - Michael Dunn

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