1926 October 16

NYC Workers Demand End to Labor Injunctions

 

Striking garment workers and box makers in New York City on this day demanded an end to court-issued injunctions that curbed their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and assembly. In the 1920s, such injunctions became a powerful and frequently used weapon by employers against unions and union organizers.

An official with the NYC Central Trade and Labor Council declared that “the injunction evil has stripped union labor of its constitutional rights of peaceful picketing, free assemblage and the use of peaceful persuasion to prevent strikebreaking.” He charged that the injunction issued against the current strike was “the most drastic injunction ever issued in this State.”

Thousands of union members and workers joined the protest rally at Union Square. Communist Party spokespersons demanded that people defy the injunction and “fill their damn jails.”

Labor injunctions were finally outlawed by the Norris-La Guardia Act (March 23, 1932).

Read the classic study of labor injunctions: Felix Frankfurter and Nathan Greene, The Labor Injunction (1930)

Hear Pete Seeger sing the famous labor song, Which Side Are You On?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msEYGql0drc

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