Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Aug 20 (1866) National Labor Union Resolves to Fight for 8-hour Day: "Carry this hammer to my captain, tell him I'm gone"
On August 20, 1866 (the same day President Andrew Johnson restored habeas corpus and officially ended the Civil War) the newly organized National Labor Congress (aka National Labor Union) was formed. A week later, the Evening Star reported that the Union had passed a resolution "to never relax until a law is adopted whereby eight hours shall constitute a legal day's work in every state of the American union."
It was 72 years before a national law was passed with 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.
Hear Mississippi John Hurt sing of the laborer's struggles in his song Spike Driver Blues.