Once again, it is entirely possible that Biden is the most pro-union president in American history. In fact, it's really a probable statement at this point. FDR never came close to these actions.

It is true of course that Democrats passed pioneering labor legislation, but a) that only happened because they had gargantuan legislative majorities and b) they still had to basically exclude Black workers to get them through.
New Deal Democrats, that is
And counter to all we want to believe about the bully pulpit, it's entirely possible that Biden becomes unquestionably the most pro-labor president in American history and it makes almost no difference in terms of rebuilding the labor movement.

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More from @ErikLoomis

28 Apr
This Day in Labor History: April 28, 1971. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened its doors. Let's talk about the fight for workplace safety and how OSHA has been so captured by corporations today! Image
The creation of OSHA proved to be one the greatest victory in American history for workplace health.
Unfortunately, OSHA could never live up to its potential to revolutionize the workplace due to the organized resistance of corporations, the conservative movement that would transform American politics beginning in the late 1970s, and regulatory capture.
Read 44 tweets
27 Apr
Turns out there's a lot of people on the left out there who really, really, really want to believe heroic myths about past radicals and have no interest in actual history.

I mean, I already knew this, so I'm not at all surprised. But it's a very real thing.
As many historians will tell you, people say they want to know the "real history" but in fact what they mean by that is "history that reinforces my preexisting beliefs."

And that's true of leftists, liberals, centrists, conservatives, and fascists.
Today the Twitter left is really mad at me for noting actual facts about the Haymarket anarchists and talking about their actual beliefs and actions.

Sorry for having read the literature on labor history and then reporting it to you?
Read 6 tweets
27 Apr
Yes, the Haymarket anarchists were in fact bad actors who helped destroy the Knights of Labor by giving government an excuse to crackdown on actual workers fighting for their own demands.
Same with Goldman and Berkman trying (and of course failing because anarchists can't do anything right) to kill Henry Clay Frick and discrediting the Homestead strikers who had nothing to do with it.
And I mean, let's be clear, the Chicago anarchists at Haymarket thought that American workers were too stupid to understand revolution and so decided to do it for them. I mean, these were not great people.
Read 4 tweets
27 Apr
This Day in Labor History: April 27, 1939. Senator James Murray, a Democrat from Montana, introduced SB 2256, authorizing federal funding to states to pay out claims to workers suffering from silicosis. Let's talk about the fight for workers' health! Image
The rise of organized labor and the New Deal in the 1930s placed new pressures on employers to clean up unsafe workplaces. Silicosis was one of the major issues in the workplace.
The horrifying Hawk’s Nest massacre of Black workers in the early 1930s from silicosis was just the most famous incident in this horror show of death and debilitating illness.

Read 31 tweets
20 Apr
This Day in Labor History: April 20, 1946. The International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America (IFAWA) Local 46, a communist led union of largely Native Alaskans, walked off the job to demand wage increases, shorter workdays, and the closed shop. Let's talk about this win!
First off, I am very pro IFAWA salmon union logo. I need a t-shirt of this.
Working in solidarity with Food, Tobacco, Agricultural, and Allied Workers (FTA) Local 7, which largely represented Filipino salmon cannery workers, this successful strike demonstrated the potential of cross-racial organizing among workers.
Read 40 tweets
19 Apr
This Day in Labor History: April 19, 1911. Furniture makers in Grand Rapids, Michigan went on strike to protest the terrible wages and working conditions that defined their lives. This is also a moment to talk about how religion can shape class consciousness!!
To begin with, that we are ever going to have a giant united class-based movement is a fantasy because everyone's going to bring such different life experiences into it. People aren't coming into class consciousness in a vacuum. Their whole lives influence their thoughts.
One of the real lessons of intersectionality is that we are all a creation of a series of interests and influences that overlap to create the person we are. This becomes quite clear if we look at the furniture workers strike and how religion was THE central issue here, not class.
Read 38 tweets

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