Today in Labour History
Power in a Union
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), nicknamed the Wobblies, was founded on June 27, 1905. This revolutionary syndicalist union once had massive support from agricultural labourers, lumberjacks, miners, marines, and longshoremen. Most of all, the Wobblies were known throughout the world because they shaped the tradition of rebellious labour songs. The songwriter and singer, Joe Hill (1879-1915), achieved the status of a martyr. This was partly due to the fact that Hill (whose real name was Joel Emmanuel Haaglund) had arrived in the US in 1901 with an obscure Swedish background and was executed for murdering a grocer in 1915.