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Today in Labor History

Oct. 26, 1825: After eight years and at least 1,000 worker deaths—mostly Irish immigrants—the 350-mile Erie Canal opens, linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Father John Raho wrote to his bishop that "so many die that there is hardly any time to give Extreme Unction (last rites) to everybody. We run night and day to assist the sick."

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They're Called 'Scabs' for a Reason
Posted On: Oct 05, 2012

Oct. 5, 2012 | …When Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, "Labor cannot, on my terms, surrender the right to strike," he acknowledged that working people have only one weapon at their disposal–i.e., withholding their labor. Workers can scream and argue all they like, but without the threat of withholding their labor, they have no leverage…Strikes are perfectly legal; they've been around for a couple of hundred years and are recognized all over the western world. But if hitting the bricks is tantamount to economic suicide, it practically gives businesses free rein, which, with the middle class melting away like the earth's glaciers, is the last thing we need. Striker replacement legislation would make a tremendous difference. It would unshackle the American worker. It would liberate him, energize, inspire him. Guaranteeing workers the right to return to their jobs would not only level the playing field, it would change the whole ballgame. Read labor columnist David Macaray here.

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Updated: Oct. 26 (20:43)

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