On August 24, 1827, The Journeymen Mechanics’ Advocate began publication in Philadelphia, the outgrowth of a strike by carpenters demanding a shorter, 10-hour day. Although the strike was lost, labor journalism blossomed.
In volume 1 of Philip Foner’s mammoth “History of the Labor Movement in the United States,” published by International Publishers, he writes:
“Along with the rise of the workers’ parties went the formation of labor papers. Almost fifty labor weeklies were published in the cities and towns during the years 1827-1832.”
According to the Labor Press Project at the University of Washington:
“Early labor papers commanded political and social recognition, calling for reduced working hours, public education, and the abolishment of debtors’ prisons.
By the end of the 19th century, working-class newspapers proliferated in cities across the country. Between 1880-1940, thousands of labor and radical publications circulated, constituting a golden age for working-class newspapers. “
Many state historical societies have collections of area labor union newspapers.
Peoplesworld.org daily news website is the direct descendant of the Daily Worker, part of the American independent and free press tradition in the U.S. Since the first issue of the Daily Worker came off the press in 1924, this press has been in the battles of the U.S. working class and people’s movements.
Photo: Labor papers called for the abolishment of debtors’ prisons such as this one that operated in eastern Virginia.