Mirrors of American Minimum Wage Strikes


In the month of January 2011 there was an uprising of Egyptian workers over wages. They left their jobs, striking until their demands were met.

In 1866 also known as “the year of the great uprising of labor” citizens left their jobs, striking until their demands were met.

Courtesy of A People’s History of the United States by Howard  Zinn

Even among southern blacks, were all the military, political  and economic force of the southern states, with the acquiescence of the national government, was concentrated on keeping them docile and  working, there were sporadic rebellions.  In the cotton fields, blacks were dispersed in their work, but in the sugar fields, work was done in gangs, so there was opportunity for organized  action.  In 1880, they had struck to get a dollar a day instead of  75 cents, threatening to leave the state.  Strikers were arrested and jailed, but they walked the roads along the sugar fields, carrying banners  “A DOLLAR A DAY OR KANSAS.”    They were arrested again and again for trespassing, and the strike was broken.

By 1866, however, the Knights of Labor was organizing in the sugar fields, in the peak year of the Knights’ influence. The black workers unable to feed and clothe their families on their wages, often paid in store scrip, asked a dollar a day once more.  The following year, in the fall, close to ten thousand sugar laborers went on strike 90 percent of them Negroes and members of the Knights.  The militia got involved and gun battles began.

Thoughts

I have great respect for American & foreign citizens who recognize their value in the Labor force.  Too often corporations and interest groups bend the rules, and provide favors to insure their positions of power, with no regard for those who’ve made them wealthy.  Religious fundamentals will tell you that the current uprisings against corruption are a “sign of the times”, but these events are a positive of History repeating itself.  Average citizens no longer continuing to lay dormant while the powers that be live lavish, stealing the workers’ dime.

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