On May 4, 1886, in Haymarket Square in Chicago, the public rallied peacefully in support of 40,000 workers in Chicago who had gone on strike demanding an eight-hour workday and the right to organize. Big business and industry refused to consider such a “novelty.” Against the smugness of big business, other quasi-organized labor groups began a rally in support of striking workers. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb into the police assemblage—but who threw the bomb remains a mystery, although Big Business claims that it was the work of a union organizer business called an anarchist. The bomb dispersed the public meeting but the bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of eight police officers, mostly from friendly fire. The police attacked, and eight more died in what was known as a revenge slaughter. Eight union supporters were arrested. Four men were convicted and executed, and one unionist committed what was officially ruled as a suicide in prison although the circumstances were questionable (On 10 November 1886, it is recorded “one of the suspects killed himself in his cell with a smuggled dynamite cap which he detonated in his mouth” (http://www.odmp.org/officer/3972-patrolman-mathias-j.-degan).)—this, despite the fact that the prosecution conceded none of the defendants had thrown the bomb (Foner, Philip S. (1986). “The First May Day and the Haymarket Affair”. May Day: A Short History of the International Workers’ Holiday, 1886-1986. New York: International Publishers. pp. 27–39).
On July 6, 1892, in Homestead, Pennsylvania, 3800 workers went on strike against industrial giant Andrew Carnegie who instituted a lock-out on June 30, 1892. A full-scale battle between strikers known as the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (the AA; the union was formed in 1876) and private security agents broke out on July 6, 1892 with unionists determined to win the right to organize. It was not Carnegie’s goal to destroy the union, for Carnegie went on public record as being in favor of labor unions. Carnegie was countered by his CEO Henry Clay Frick. While Carnegie condemned the use of strike breakers and told associates that no steel mill was worth a single drop of blood, Frick was identical to that of the Koch Brothers of Kansas and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and had no qualms about killing unionists and replacing the better trained and more experienced union laborers with new people who had little or no training and would work for lower wages thereby enriching one of the titans of industry in USA history. Frick knew how to mold the mind of Carnegie, and was able to change Andrew’s thinking. Carnegie ordered the Homestead plant to manufacture large amounts of inventory so the plant could weather a strike. He also drafted a notice (which Frick never released) withdrawing recognition of the union. In April 1892, Frick contracted with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to provide security at the plant; each Pinkerton was given a Winchester rifle. A large crowd of families were waiting for the Pinkerton Detectives. Three hundred hired and armed goons attacked men, women, children, and the elderly— all who were members of union families. Five people died. As Pinkerton atrocities escalated supporters of the rights of unions to bargain collectively escalated to over 5000 people–which caused the Pinkerton men to raise a white flag and surrender.
While Frick tried to persuade the people of the USA that the unionists had fired first, the New York Times presented information to the contrary (http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9405EED61538E233A25754C0A9619C94639ED7CF). All reports state that the Pinkerton Detectives shot directly into the crowds—not above their heads as Frick attempted to argue.
On April 20, 1914, in Ludlow, Colorado, 1200 coal miners went on strike, to win the right to organize. The coal mines were owned by the Rockefeller family, and had the worse rating among deaths in the coal mines. Mining was dangerous and difficult work with Colliers, coal miners, in Colorado were at constant risk for explosion, suffocation, and collapsing mine walls. In 1912, the death rate in Colorado’s mines was 7.055 per 1,000 employees, compared to a national rate of 3.15. Miners were generally paid according to tonnage of coal produced, while so-called “dead work” (such as shoring up unstable roofs) was often unpaid. To stop the organization of unions and the threat of boycotts, strikes, walk-outs, and collective bargaining, the Rockefellers were able to get support from the Colorado National Guard. An unscrupulous group, the Colorado National Guard attacked the workers shantytown, and burned it to the ground. Nineteen people were killed in cold blood by the savagery of the Colorado National Guard. Two women and 11 children were asphyxiated, and they burned to death. Two women and eleven children were asphyxiated and burned to death. Three union leaders and two strikers were killed by gunfire, along with one child, one passer-by, and one National Guardsman. In response, the miners armed themselves and attacked dozens of mines, destroying property and engaging in several skirmishes with the Colorado National Guard. (Andrews, Thomas Franklin (2008). Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.) Six months after the Ludlow Massacre, President Wilson signed the Clayton Act, prohibiting the prosecution of union members under Antitrust Law. That was almost a century ago. Two decades later, during the Franklin Roosevelt’s first term as President, he signed the National Labor Relations Act into law. It protects the right to organize.
Labor has little chance of change in the USA today. The Koch Brothers of Kansas have bought a party: the GOP. The Republican governors from Iowa, to Wisconsin, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio, and beyond have become the favored pets, like US Senator Scott Brown who openly admits he would not have been elected to the seat once held by Edward (Ted) Kennedy without the Koch Brothers money–money raised by coercion and threats and funneled into PACs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin was tricked into admitting that he was the lap dog of the Koch Brothers, while others now are trying to hide their connections.
Here and around the world, many people, both genders, all ages, have fought and died so that all people have the right to organize in their nations. The right to organize also is a fundamental principle of international law. Over 150 countries have ratified the “Right to Organize” Convention, an international treaty. It was adopted in 1949. That was 62 years ago. It remains especially true for the men and women in the uniforms of the USA who entered into battle against the Nazis who outlawed unions two days after Hitler was sworn in as chancellor of Germany and those who persisted in demanding collective bargaining rights were executed.
What offended Hitler the most was German women working. He claimed that German women working took jobs from men. Promising to end the right of women to work won him the election in 1933. And he kept his promise by having German female workers executed if they did not submit to their husband, stay at home, become mothers, and have numerous babies as birth control and abortion were outlawed–a law that Annette Sweeney of Iowa would have delighted in passing.
Those women who did not work as they were told, or who advocated collective bargaining, the right to an abortion, or other freedoms of choice were dealt with severely.
Like German workers, Americans died in catastrophic numbers so that all Americans had the freedom of choice, and to organize, even thought Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, has prohibited collective bargaining, and Annette Sweeney, Legislator of Iowa, would prohibit women from choosing the destiny of their bodies as did the legislators in the Reichstag of the Third Republic who made abortions among Aryan women a criminal offense (1933). The reason was economic: the more babies born, the more men would be available for conquest, and the more women would be available as breeders of new Aryan stock who would repudiate unions and collective bargaining.
Today the evil of a few who would deny the right to organize and the right of choice is growing stronger, led by the demonic Koch Brothers, and seventeenth-century thinking ideologues who would be demigods like Annette Sweeney of the 44th District (Hardin County) of Iowa would restore a civil Inquisition more grievous and hateful than that of the Spanish Inquisition which put to death over three million witches and over 200,000 women who obtained illegal abortions. It is thoroughly evil people like the Koch Brothers of Kansas and GOP Legislator Sweeney of the 44th District of Iowa who want an America that provides labor to corporate overlords and to the churches who need additional tithes as people become poorer—but this can only happen when there is an America where the middle class is chained by debt. As Cardinal Spellman said 45 years ago, “it is a war thrust upon us, and we cannot yield to tyranny” of would be demigods like Governors Scott Walker (R-WI), Terry Branstadt (R-IA), Craig Christy (R-NJ), John Kasich (R-OH), Rick Scott (R-FL), Robert Bentley (R-AL), Nathan Deal (R-GA), Rick Perry (R-TX) the Koch Brothers, Annette Sweeney (Legislator R-IA), and those even more diabolical whose talons are outstretched to strangle democracy in the USA. Not only are the Tea Bag Republicans openly opposed to workers’ rights, but they want to rewrite history so that text books show that unions have historically been bad for the economy, that unionists are criminal, that evolution and climate warming is a hoax, and that education is not essential. Library budgets are gutted, teachers are defamed and their class sizes increased, schools are not being repaired or built, and highways crumble.
The infusion of cash from Washington was criticized by some conservatives, who complained that it gives federal officials too much sway over state and local school policy. For instance, in Texas, Gov. Perry refused to have his state apply for one program funded through the recovery act, Race to the Top, though in typical Perry-duplicity, Texas has accepted billions of dollars in stimulus aid, including money for education–but that is being rechanneled as the youth of Texas are being taught fantasies and not allowed to investigate for themselves for fear they might learn that unions brought change to the USA: lowered work hours to eight a day, shortened the work week to five days, won unemployment compensation concessions and the right of both parents to have natal leave for newborn children.
In Iowa, the attack on unions is becoming critical. With the support of Iowa’s KKK and various neo-Nazi groups funded by evangelical extremists and well-financed businesses, Iowa has taken direct aim at workers rights.
House Leader Linda Upmeyer, R-Garner, called for the end of debate to House File 525 on 12 March 2011 in a manner identical to the neo-Nazi preachification of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, which her party approved at the objections of Democrats. Linda Upmeyer (Republican Representative of Iowa’s 12th District) has never been a friend to labor nor interested in the plight and diminishing economic power of the Iowa worker. The worse part about the bill is that it denies labor the right to offer any objection to any company lay-off, prohibit unions from negotiating health benefits, and further inequities between higher- and lower-paid employees (http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2011/03/11/gop-to-halt-union-debate-dems-fuming/?source=nletter-news). Upmeyer’s resolution is equal to that of the Reichstag in 1933.