Today in Labor History: Emma Goldman, IWW, Wagner Act, strike and lockout

There were at least five major events in the annals of labor history in the U.S. that occurred on June 27.

On June 27, 1869 Emma Goldman was born in Lithuania. At the age of 17, she came to the United States. Goldman was an early advocate of free speech, birth control, women’s equality and independence, and union organization. Her criticism of mandatory conscription of young men into the military during World War I led to a two-year imprisonment, followed by her deportation in 1919.

 Goldman’s papers are available at the Berkeley Digital Library site. The PBS series American Experience presented a documentary on her life.

On June 27, 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the “Wobblies,” was founded in Chicago. The famous Wobbly motto: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

On June 27, 1935 the Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act, which became the basis of U.S. labor law until now. The NLRA, also known as the Wagner Act, commits the government to encouragement of collective bargaining rights.

On June 27, 1985, there began an historic 26-day strike of 26,000 New York City hotel workers with workers winning a five-year contract that put in place major wage and benefit gains. The strike was the first such massive walkout by hotel workers in the city in 50 years.

On June 27, 1993, in Decatur, Ill., the A.E. Staley Company locked out 763 workers, members of the Allied Industrial Workers of America. The lockout was to last two and a half years. “We want to work to live, not live to work,” the workers would chant on the picket line.

Photo: Emma Goldman 1901 mug shot Public Domain



Special to
Special to is a daily news website of, for and by the 99% and the direct descendant of the Daily Worker. Published by Long View Publishing Co., People’s World reports on the movements for jobs, peace, equality, democracy, civil rights and liberties, labor, immigrant, LGBT and women’s rights, protection of the environment, and more.