ONLINE PRESENTATION: First Wednesday Speaker Series Remembering Casimer Mazurek: Chris Hawley
September 2 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020
Chris Hawley of the Eugene V. Debs Local Initiative will deliver a Zoom talk on Lackawanna events of the Great Steel Strike of 1919.
The Steel Strike of 1919 is one of the great flashpoints of U.S. labor history. The national strike of 350,000 workers was called on September 21, 1919, and collapsed on January 2, 1920, without achieving any of its aims—namely an eight hour work day, six day work week, and recognition of the union by management. The steel trusts, denouncing the strike as an outbreak of foreign-inspired Bolshevism, responded to strikers with violence and repression. The steel industry locally would not become organized until 1941.
Casimer Mazurek, a 26 year old decorated World War veteran having only recently returned from the fighting in France, was among dozens killed at plants across the country. He died instantly when Lackawanna Steel Company police fired into a crowd of 3,000 men, women, and children assembled at a strike gathering at Gate No. 3 (“Three Gate”) on the Hamburg Turnpike. His funeral procession down Ridge Road to Holy Cross Cemetery attracted 10,000 mourners, the largest such assembly in Lackawanna history. Maciej Buczkowski, a fellow laborer, died from gunshots wounds in the same incident a few days later.
Hawley will recount the significance of the Great Steel Strike of 1919, 101 years after this labor upheaval that, while ultimately not successful, set the stage for labor victories to come.