As we get closer to the fervor of May Day, 2017, let’s pause for a moment of historical reflection. ” No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair also known as the Haymarket Strike. It began with a rally on May 1, 1886, but the consequences are still being felt today,” wrote William Adelman for the Illinois Labor History Society.
In 1884, two years before the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions began the nationwide movement to make enforcement of an eight-hour workday, organizers were preparing for demonstrations.
Lucy Parsons and her husband, Albert Parsons, were two of the prominent organizers. Lucy was born a slave in Texas. Her heritage was a mixture of African-American, Native American, and Mexican descent. She worked for the Freedman’s Bureau after the Civil War, prior to moving to Chicago after she married Albert. Once there she focused on writing and organizing women sewing workers.
She and others organized rallies and staged a peaceful march of 35,000 workers on May 2nd. The next day the march and protests turned violent when policemen attacked the remaining 200 people. Lucy Parsons had just left the protest march when someone threw a bomb into the crowd, killing one officer. During the mayhem, six more police were killed, along with four other striking workers.
Rain fell that day during the Haymarket Massacre.
Even if it rains on May Day, 2017, let’s remember that a woman, a former slave, led a major labor movement leading to better conditions for all workers.
You won’t want to miss this dynamic conference at UMass Boston on Saturday, May 6 from 1:00 to 4:30 pm. Activists and organizations across Mass will be coming together to move forward a progressive agenda. Join us as we face the issues plaguing our communities: economic, racial, social, and immigrant injustice. Learn how to become part of campaigns that are fighting back and winning!
This event will feature briefings about how activists can engage in our campaigns and other allied progressive issues against the Trump administration. The Fight for $15 minimum wage, the Fair Share Amendment, labor rights, ending mass incarceration, Jobs not Jails, protecting public education, immigrants’ rights, and Safe/Sanctuary Cities will be covered.
In 2016 we took on the billionaires on Question #2 and voted a resounding NO to lifting the cap on Charter Schools. And we Won!
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice is holding its annual dinner on Thursday, April 20th at 6:00pm in Quincy at the 1199SEIU Union Hall on 108 Myrtle Street. Join us for an evening of food, drink, and inspiration, as we celebrate the victories of the past year. Yet we must keep the resistance moving forward and escalate instead.
If you wish to attend the dinner, please call Gillian at 617-470-7409 or email email@example.com for more information. Our space is wheelchair accessible. Let us know if you need other accommodations.
Speak up for a healthy planet and good jobs!
Join the Labor Network for Sustainability during the People’s Climate March on April 29th in our nation’s capitol! LNS is working to create a powerful voice within organized labor to advocate for good jobs through a just transition to a climate-safe, worker-friendly economy.
Before the march: Friday, April 28 at 7:00pm. Reception with friends and colleagues to build the labor network.
How do you respond when you hear kids and parents express fears about their status and safety? As a parent, teacher, or service provider, what can you do to be of assistance?
On Tuesday, April 25th from 6:00 to 8:30 pm, a presentation, conversations, and workshops will help us share our experiences, learn to use tools and resources, and ask questions about how to support youth and families impacted by immigration threats. Our goal is to create a more welcoming community for EVERYONE!
Come to 112 Exchange Street, Lynn and arrive at 6.00 for free pizza and beverages. The presentation will start at 6:30. Childcare and Translation will be provided. Spread the word and bring a friend.
Sponsored by the Women’s Committee of the North Shore Labor Council with Mass Education Justice Alliance.
To RSVP, please call Katie Cohen (781) 595-2538 for more information or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mourn for the Dead. Fight for the Living! Decades of struggle by working people and their unions have improved working conditions and made jobs safer. More than four decades ago Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. After years of struggle, unions continued to win new rules, such as a stronger coal dust standard for miners and anti-retaliation protections for workers who report job injuries.
Tuesday, April 4th is Equal Pay Day…sort of. It’s the day when the average woman’s earnings finally catch up to the average man’s earnings from the previous year. Currently, women earn only 80 cents on the $1.00 earned by men, which means that women must work nearly 15 months to earn what men earn in 12 months.
This year is also the 8th anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps to prevent pay discrimination. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “pay differentials exist and sometimes to a grave degree” especially for women of color.
Some good news from the EPI report is that “the gender pay gap in unionized workforces is smaller than in nonunionized workforces.”
There’s May Day, and there’s May Day. This one on May 1st , 2017 isn’t about flowers and flagpoles. It’s a march on International Workers’ Day to commemorate the Haymarket Square Affair in Chicago on May 1, 1886 when 40,000 workers in newly-formed trade and labor unions and another 300,000 workers nation-wide went on strike demanding an eight-hour work day. Violence ensued during the next three days, and over 200 people were wounded including women and children.
After Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination on February 15, Trump immediately announced his choice of Acosta for the cabinet position. R. Alexander Acosta is the Dean of Florida International University’s Law School; he was also a former assistant attorney general and a member of the National Labor Relations Board from 2002 to 2003 under President George W. Bush. Following that appointment, he later served as Assistant Attorney General for the civil rights division of the Department of Justice.
Katie Cohen joined North Shore Labor Council this month as the new council organizer!