East Side Freedom Library program to consider Labor Day’s origins

The East Side Freedom Library will host “The History of Labor Day,” a free, public event to explore how Labor Day became a holiday, from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 28. The event will feature readings from historic labor speeches, music and solidarity. The East Side Freedom Library is a new, independent library focused on […]

Peter Rachleff: Turbulent history sheds light on Labor Day’s relevance

Monday, Sept. 1, will mark the 120th celebration of Labor Day as a legal, national holiday. The holiday had a turbulent, complicated beginning. Understanding more about this can help us rethink the significance of this holiday today. American labor in 1894 was a volatile force. The industrial revolution had radically transformed work, replacing skilled labor […]

East Side stories will find new home at Freedom Library

A new, independent library is seeking to celebrate and preserve the heritage of St. Paul’s East Side – its working-class roots, its rich diversity and its fighting spirit. But first, organizers must preserve and restore a 98-year-old architectural landmark, from the roof to the ground floor. The East Side Freedom Library is the new name […]

Untold Stories continues with labor-history events in May

Untold Stories, the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library’s annual labor-history series, continues in May with its lineup of events focused on the struggles facing workers in the past and how they influence the issues of today. The free, public programs began last month and will wrap up May 14. A full programming guide […]

Unions backed comprehensive immigration reform bill 10 years ago … and still do

Democrats in Congress introduced legislation to provide a pathway to “legal residency” for an estimated 9 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. a decade ago. The measure drew support from unions, religious groups and immigrant organizations. Ten years later, of course, the fight for immigration reform continues. Unions 10 years ago made up a […]

A stinging defeat on labor relations bill 75 years ago

The Minnesota Federation of Labor held an emergency special convention for the first time in its history April 3, 1939. On the agenda? How to defeat a labor-relations bill making its way through the Legislature that winter and considered by The Advocate to be “one of the most vicious anti-Labor bills ever introduced in the middle […]

‘Untold Stories’ series to celebrate labor history with free public events

Untold Stories, the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library’s annual labor-history series, will focus this year on the struggles facing workers in the past and how they influence the issues of today. The free, public programs begin April 22 and wrap up May 14. A full programming guide is available on the Friends’ website. […]

Delegates debated beer’s ‘intoxicating effects’ 75 years ago

This headline from The Union Advocate’s Feb. 16, 1939 edition immediately caught our eye: “Assembly Opposed To Defining Beer As Intoxicating.” Turns out, the headline was a bit misleading. The article reported that St. Paul’s central labor body, the Trades and Labor Assembly, passed a resolution opposing a bill before the Minnesota Legislature to define […]

St. Paul unions urged public boycott of ‘Nazi-made’ goods 75 years ago

Three years before the attack on Pearl Harbor that drew the U.S. into World War II, American union members declared economic war on Nazi Germany. Unions in St. Paul scrambled in December 1938 to coordinate a local boycott of German goods after American Federation of Labor President William Green, speaking to a nationwide audience on […]

Labor mourned JFK’s assassination 50 years ago

The Nov. 28, 1963 edition of The Union Advocate ran three front-page tributes to the nation’s fallen president, remembered as a great friend of organized labor. St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly President Charles Rafferty said John F. Kennedy’s assassination Nov. 22, 1963 was a great loss for workers, but he added the president would […]