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In Honor Of Labor Day

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  • In Honor Of Labor Day

    Did any of you know that St. Louis was home to the largest and first ever general worker's strike in America? It was during the great railroad strike of 1877 when workers from all over St. Louis, railroad workers, levee and steamboat workers, foundry, flour mill, brewery workers everybody joined in. They shut down the city for SIX days. They led marches by the thousands throughout the city. 20,000 workers met at Union station for a rally to hear speakers from the Workingmen's party. At a time when strikes were cropping up everywhere in America St Louis was the only place where workers joined together across ethnic and color barriers to form a citywide general strike. The strikers pushed for 8 hour days and no child labor laws. No other city in the US has ever come so close to a worker's takeover. After day 5 the heads of industry caved in to their demands. Unfortunately for the strikers their victory was short lived. The federal government sent in the national guard and broke the strike. Unlike in other cities the entire strike and the breaking of it resulted in no viokence. After the strike was broken industry bosses rescinded on their deal. But out of the ashes of the St. Louis some of the leaders formed the AFL 3 years later which has become the largest labor union in America. Sadly there is no commemoration of this period in time in St. Louis. You will never see it in any history book. It is unfortunate because these 6 days in July of 1877 St. Louis was on the center of the world stage like at no other time in the city's history.
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