SOURCE: The Conversation
by Steven C. Beda
Remembering the 1919 Seattle General Strike on its 100th anniversary.
by Leon Fink
What W.E.B. Du Bois and American labor history can teach us about the government shutdown's end.
SOURCE: Seattle Times
Ahead of its 100th anniversary, revisiting the Seattle General Strike and the city’s long legacy of organized labor
The Seattle General Strike lasted six days, with not a single shot fired nor a single striker arrested.
Jefferson Cowie is a professor of labor history at Cornell and the author of “Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class.”ITHACA, N.Y. — SEVENTY-FIVE years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act to give a policy backbone to his belief that goods that were not produced under “rudimentary standards of decency” should not be “allowed to pollute the channels of interstate trade."The act is the bedrock of modern employment law. It outlawed child labor, guaranteed a minimum wage, established the official length of the workweek at 40 hours, and required overtime pay for anything more. Capping the working week encouraged employers to hire more people rather than work the ones they had to exhaustion. All this came not from the magic of market equilibrium but from federal policy.For decades afterward, Congress brought more people under the law’s purview and engaged in perennial struggles to maintain or increase the minimum wage. Fifty years ago this month, John F. Kennedy signed its most important amendment, the Equal Pay Act, which guaranteed women and others equal pay for equal work....