The failed anthracite coal mine workers strike of 1887-88 in eastern Pennsylvania illustrates some of the fault lines and contradictions within capitalism and highlight some of the ways our 21st century economy is devolving back toward older patterns. (Bill and Rachel)
In 1857, Waltham, Massachusetts jumped from the First to the Second Industrial Revolution by becoming the global home of the mass-produced pocketwatch, capitalizing on the railroad industry and then the American Civil War.
To prepare for a series on early industrial Massachusetts we’re unlocking this episode from Patreon: Bill and Rachel examine what an 1842 Massachusetts court decision can tell us about the process of industrialization and the emergence of labor unions and what parallels we can draw for modern gig workers.
In 1887, the Knights of Labor organized a huge strike by Black sugarcane workers in Louisiana, which was suppressed with massive lethal force. (Content warning.) New Orleans-based guest Justin LaGrande returns to discuss the circumstances and recent efforts to bring it to greater light.
Bill and Rachel explore the disappointments of the Great Southwest Railroad strike of 1886 and reflect on potential lessons for present-day railroad labor relations. (Note: After we recorded this episode, the results were released for the 2022 rail worker votes on tentative agreements. The engineers narrowly approved the proposed contract, while the conductors narrowly rejected it.)