Today in Labor History: General strike in New Orleans

Today in 1892, the New Orleans general strike, which was comprised of both black and white workers, began.

Earlier in the year, streetcar conductors won big victories, and this drove thousands to form and join dozens of new AFL unions. Three unions, all of which were racially integrated, formed what was called a “triple alliance.” The unions were the Teamsters, the Scalesmen, and the Packers. The triple alliance struck for better conditions, and virtually all labor pledged support. At the same time, the bosses united, forming the Board of Trade, and attempted to divide the workers along racial lines.

The rest of labor intensified its support and the general strike took place. The bosses agreed to binding arbitration, and the workers, white and black, won limited workdays and overtime pay.

Image: Port of New Orleans just before the labor showdown. Via Patrick Murfin.