Today in labor history: SCLC’s Ralph Abernathy and 100 workers arrested

On this day in 1969, Ralph Abernathy,  head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), was arrested along with 100 other workers on a Charleston South Carolina picket line for demanding union rights.

South Carolina law allowed only 10 workers at a time to participate in a picketing. The workers were protesting at the South Carolina Medical College Hospital demanding wage increases and union recognition.  Hospital officials said it was illegal for them to bargain with a union. Rev Abernathy was then the new head of the SCLC following Martin Luther King’s murder the year before on April 4, 1968. The workers were represented by 1199B and won wage and benefit increases. Abernathy died in 1990.

Photo: Wikimedia



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Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.