Labor Events Yearbook: 1919

This is a database of campaigns, strikes, and labor related events as recorded in the Seattle Union Record during the first six months of 1919, a period that included the Seeattle General Strike. It was researched by Amy Smith. Start by reading her labor highlights report. Below that is the database. Click the links to read the articles.

Highlights January-June 1919 by Amy Smith

The first half of 1919 was a very exciting time for the Seattle labor movement, characterized by mass actions that taught Seattle workers important lessons about labor organizing. Early in the year, labor unions were put to work organizing a general strike in solidarity with approximately 35,000 striking shipyard workers who stopped work January 21st. The shipyard workers protested the continued use of World War I price controls on wages. The shipyard workers requested the assistance of the Seattle labor movement as a whole, prompting quick action by some to support the strike. In an unprecedented show of Seattle’s labor union strength, workers initiated a general strike and shut down the city for several days starting February 6th. This event was such a prominent moment in the labor landscape that it influenced the mindset and actions of workers in the following months. Workers learned the meaning of solidarity and were willing to act not for their own benefit but for the benefit of their fellow workers. The political backlash against the strike influenced the direction of labor organizing as it forced organized labor to search for new ways to defend its rights. The experience of organizing a general strike prepared Seattle to lead the discussion on the mass actions in defense of unionist Tom Mooney that came later that year. As the official voice of the Seattle Central Labor Council, The Union Record richly tells the story of workers who discovered their true power and potential for affecting change in society.

[read full report/ close report]