Hear this right…. Here!
EXIT 14b-a; I-95s to: I-78 to Bayonne, New Jersey
The city of Bayonne was the site of one of the first labor battles in America. The walk outs led to serious violence during the Bayonne refinery strikes of 1915 and 1916, in which mostly Polish American workers staged labor actions against John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil of New Jersey.
When a majority of the workers peacefully walked out, Standard Oil called Bayonne's mayor who also happened to be on the company's payroll as a lawyer. The mayor immediately employed the police to squash the walkout. Strikers fought with hired thugs as well as police as they sought improved pay and working conditions. Primary of their demands was to reduce the 12 hour work day to 8 hours.
As tensions rose and strikers started fires, strikebreakers opened up and fired bullets into a crowd.
Four striking workers were killed and many wounded.
After the strike was quelled, bad publicity plagued Standard Oil. John D Rockefeller Junior decided to instigate much trumpeted Labor Relation Improvements including even adopting a pension plan for its workers — one of the country’s first.
Work days were eventually reduced to the now standard 8 hour day.
Fast Fact: yesterday’s Standard Oil of New Jersey still lives on. You may find it as your friendly neighborhood Exxon Mobil gas station. But I digress…
The New Jersey city of Bayonne is connected to New York City’s fifth borough, Staten Island, by the Bayonne Bridge. Separating Staten Island from the other four New York City boroughs of Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, Bayonne, New Jersey is actually closer to the Big Apple than Staten Island which makes it a quick commute.
Ironically, where police once battled refinery workers, today Bayonne is now a popular home for many of New York City’s police and fire department families.
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