C'est Vrai: Louisiana site of one of first labor strikes in America
“As a result, some of labor's first union organizing occurred in Louisiana, and West Louisiana became the site of one of the first labor strikes in America”
The Vernon Parish community of New Llano was originally named Stables. It got its new name in 1917, when 200 members of the Socialist commune Llano del Rio in California moved to Louisiana. via The Daily Advertiser
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#1 Nov 11, 2007
Your news story (C'est Vrai: Louisiana site of one of first labor strikes in America) of September 2 errs in a number of ways. Louisiana as the French province and as the Spanish province permitted no labor strikes, which brings the story up to 1803 when the United States gained control. Many labor actions took place in British America and the United States before 1803, none of which rise to the level of modern union actions. There is no record of a labor strike in Louisiana before about 1880, except in New Orleans, where longshoremen organized quite early to control wages and working conditions. New Orleans is unique in labor actions by both black and white workers. Elsewhere in Louisiana, unions organized among railroad workers and the later Knights of Labor, an early industrial union (as opposed to craft Unions. Not until 1910 did another industrial union emerge, the Brotherhood of Timber Workers, which later affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World. But all of this took place before the early 1920s, when Job Harriman moved his Llano community (not a union) to West Louisiana. New Llano colony never engaged in a strike in Louisiana, which would have been non-sensical because the colony was owner and employer. The BTW did strike in Rapides and Calcasieu Parishes (at the end of the strike in Calcasieu, the Legislature created Beauregard Parish in an effort to weaken union organizing). Your news story seems to conclude that a strike by New Llano colony represents "one of the first labor strikes in America." I am surprised that a Lafayette-based newspaper has forgotten that New Llano colony, at its most aggressive, owned a substantial sugar plantation in neighboring Terrebonne Parish, and, for good measure, a citrus ranch in deep South Texas.
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