Skip to main content

You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
                                                      -Mother Jones

Friday May 12, 1903
Woodstock, Illinois - Whitworth gives ultimatum to the town of Woodstock.

Whitworth runs the major corporation in this community, and exercises a certain dominance over the area's business. The threat, therefore, to relocate unless all other area employers join the open-shop drive was one that had to be taken seriously. The business men and merchants of Woodstock were thus persuaded to sever their relationships with the town's labor unions, and to Join the Citizens' Alliance. This open-shop organization is headed by none other than James A Whitworth himself.

History of the Labor Movement in the United States Vol 3
The Policies and Practices of the American Federation of Labor 1900-1909

-by Philip S Foner
International Pub, 1981

For further study:

Saturday May 12, 1913
From the International Socialist Review: "The Rip in the Silk Industry"

This article by Big Bill Haywood in the May issue of the Review has caused quite a commotion in the industry by exposing the practice, called dynamiting, of loading the finished silk cloth with metals. Big Bill describes the process:
In the dye houses one pound of silk is often treated so that its weight is increased to 56 ounces! This is done by dipping the skein into a solution of which sugar, tannic acid, tin, lead, and iron are often components.

This adulteration, amounting to a direct steal, enhances the weight of the fabric but at the same time weakens the texture and destroys the life of the cloth. Silk so treated will crumble away while it stands in the wardrobe before it has been subjected to use.

The public is alarmed to learn that they are being swindled by the silk manufactures, and demands action! Sadly, the health of the workers involved in this process is of less concern. Big Bill describes the working conditions:
The work of the dyers is the most unhealthful and disagreeable in the industry and is almost the worst paid. The strike came as a welcome relief to them from day after day of filthy and monotonous toil. They work 13 hours on the night shift and 11 on the day side. They are compelled to stand in wet and soggy places, their hands are always submerged in chemicals which discolor and burn their flesh and sometimes eat off the nails of their fingers.
Rebel Voices
An IWW Anthology

-ed by Joyce L Kornbluh
Charles H Kerr Pub, 1988

Sunday May 12, 2013
From Talking Union: OSHA fines are just the cost of doing buisness.

When Orestes Martinez was killed on the job in Houston, Texas, the fine was only $3,500 after appeal. The company had committed two serious safety violations leading directly to his death and the injury of two other workers. According to the article by  Mike Elk:

Such small fines are all too common, according to a new report released by the non-profit National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH), entitled 2013: Preventable Deaths: The Tragedy of Workplace Fatalities. The report shows that the average fine for serious safety violations under federal OSHA law is a mere $1,680 dollars. After factoring in OSHA’s severely limited resources–under its current budget OSHA would need 129 years to inspect every workplace in the country–many employers are willing to take the risk that they may have to pay small fines, as in the case of Orestes Martinez’s death.

Workplace safety advocates say that such low fines do not serve as a deterrent, but instead make violating safety laws merely the cost of doing business.

“Someone put a price tag on my husband,” says Adriana Martinez. “They choose to cut corners and put profits ahead of my husband’s life. What hurts the most is that his death was preventable.”

On average, 13 U.S. workers die each day in workplace accidents.

Read entire article here:

There Is Power in a Union-Joe Hill
First appeared in the 5th edition of the Little Red Songbook, published early 1913.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site