Labor and Labor Rights

The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

Memphis sanitation workers stayed off the job starting January 12, 1968 in a strike that lasted for nine weeks. This was the strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was assassinated on April 4 of that year.

The Cato Street Conspiracy

Urbanization and mechanization, and all the downsides they brought with them, had continued in Great Britain in the years since the Luddite Rebellion. In response, a radical group plotted to assassinate the Prime Minister's entire cabinet.

The Cod Wars

Fishing plays vital role in the culture and economy of both the United Kingdom and Iceland. A dispute between the countries over fishing territory started off with cordial tone, and then escalated into a serious conflict.

The London Match Girls Strike of 1888

The London Match Girls Strike of 1888 was an important labor rights event in Britain. Women working in a match factory took a stand against hazardous and unfair working conditions, and impacted organized labor in the process.

Bracero Program

For parts of the 20th century, the U.S. and Mexico had agreements in place allowing, and even encouraging, Mexican nationals to enter the U.S. to perform agricultural work and other labor in the American Southwest.

Courrières Mine Disaster of 1906

One of the worst mining tragedies in history, the explosion that sent fire through the Courrières mine tunnels claimed more than a thousand lives. It also created awareness of dangerous issues in mines that hadn't received much focus up to that point.

Battle of Blair Mountain

In 1921, coal miners fed up with unfair labor practices and exploitation took up arms against their employers. The resulting conflict lasted five days and has been called the biggest armed uprising on U.S. soil since the Civil War.

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters became the first African-American labor union to be recognized by the American Federation of Labor. What started as a campaign for more money and better treatment became an important force for social change.

The Luddites

The Luddite uprising was a series of protests in northern England, in which workers smashed machines in mills and factories. This wasn't the first organized violence against mechanization, but Luddites are the most infamous of all the machine-breakers.

The Radium Girls

Between in 1917, hundreds of women got jobs applying radium-treated paint to various products. Many experienced severe health problems. Five former workers decided to sue the U.S. Radium corporation, and faced a campaign of misinformation.