Heroes of the Labor Movement: Then & Now

An Early Hero of the Labor Movement

Happy Labor Day! Today we celebrate the strides the labor movement has made and recognize the countless thousands who fought, protested, were arrested, and even died to secure the labor rights that have become ubiquitous in the US today: the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, the right to collective bargaining, child labor laws, Labor Day itself, and so much more.

Today we wanted to share the story of just one such hero who was extremely influential in the fight to abolish child labor in the US, and how she can continue to inspire us as we fight for fair labor here and around the world.

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones was a union organizer, advocate, and protestor in the late 1800's and early 1900's who was known for her fiery speeches and dramatic spectacles. She was pegged by her detractors as “the most dangerous woman in America" (hell yeah!).

Jones worked closely with miners and their families, organizing strikes that involved tens of thousands of workers and became a founder and organizer for several unions. She called the miners "her boys" which earned her the nickname “Mother Jones” and "the miner's angel."

In 1903, she organized over 100 children workers in a march from Philadelphia to President Teddy Roosevelts summer home in New York to bring awareness to and show millionaires the face of child labor. The children carried a banner that said "We want to go to school and not the mines."

Jones was arrested and placed in jail numerous times due to her activism and was a constant pest to her opponents. Once called the “Grandmother of all agitators” on the senate floor, Mother Jones shot back that she hoped to live long enough to become the great-grandmother of all agitators.

Modern Heroes of the Labor Movement

We hope to be doing this for long enough with y'all that we all, too, become the great-grandmothers and grandfathers of all agitators. Child labor, slave labor, poverty wages, and unfair working conditions still exist, and just like Mother Jones, we like working with you to be an absolute pest to the industries that profit off of abysmal labor practices.

You are one of the heroes of the modern-day labor movement and we like working to connect you to other heroes—the business owners, entrepreneurs, artisans, and workers who are fighting exploitative labor, paying living wages, lifting up developing economies around the world, and providing safe, empowering workplaces.

These businesses say that one of the best ways you can join them is to support their work, and we're here to help you to do that. 

Thanks for everything you do to support workers and fight for the real people who produce the world’s goods.

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