2014.11.24history-gompersNovember 24
Led by Samuel Gompers, who would later found the American Federation of Labor, Cigarmakers’ Int’l Union Local 144 is chartered in New York City - 1875

November 25
Some 10,000 New Orleans workers, black and white, participate in a solidarity parade of unions comprising the Central Trades and Labor Assembly. The parade was so successful it was repeated the following two years - 1883

Teachers strike in St. Paul, Minn., the first organized walkout by teachers in the country. The month-long “strike for better schools” involving some 1,100 teachers—and principals—led to a number of reforms in the way schools were administered and operated - 1946
2014.11.24history-strike.bookcover(In Reviving the Strike: How Working People can Regain Power and Transform America, author Joe Burns says if the American labor movement is to rise again it will not be as a result of electing Democrats, the passage of legislation, or improved methods of union organizing. Rather, workers will need to rediscover the power of the strike. Not the ineffectual strike of today, where employees meekly sit on picket lines waiting for scabs to take their jobs, but the type of strike capable of grinding industries to a halt—the kind employed up until the 1960s.)

Nearly 1,550 typesetters begin what is to become a victorious 22-month strike against Chicago newspapers - 1947

George Meany becomes president of the American Federation of Labor following the death four days earlier of William Green - 1952

Canadian postal workers, protesting a Post Office decision to offer discounts to businesses but not individuals, announce that for one week they will unilaterally reduce postage costs by about two-thirds. Declared the Canadian Union of Postal Workers: “(M)embers of the general public, not businesses, can mail letters with 10 cents postage and postal workers will process them without taxing them for insufficient postage" - 1983

November 26
Six young women burn to death and 19 more die when they leap from the fourth-story windows of a blazing factory in Newark, N.J. The floors and stairs were wooden; the only door from which the women could flee was locked - 1910 2014.11.24history-prepared.bookcover
(Are You Prepared? A Guide to Emergency Planning in the Workplace: Today’s headlines, much like those of yester-year, are filled with disaster, from the natural—fire, flood, hurricane, tornado and the like—to the man-made, such as workplace shootings, explosions, accidental releases of toxic chemicals or radiation, even nightmares such as bombings. Are you and your co-workers prepared to respond quickly and safely if disaster strikes? Steps you take today can save lives tomorrow, from having escape plans to knowing how to quickly turn off power and fuel supplies. Includes helpful checklists. Published by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.)

November 27
Some 1,200 workers sit down at Midland Steel, forcing recognition of the United Auto Workers, Detroit - 1936

2014.11.24history-pins.and.needlesThe pro-labor musical revue, “Pins & Needles,” opens on Broadway with a cast of Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union members. The show ran on Friday and Saturday nights only, because of the cast’s regular jobs. It ran for 1,108 performances before closing - 1937

November 28
William Sylvis, founder of the National Labor Union, born - 1828

National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, precursor to IBEW, founded - 1891

A total of 154 men die in a coal mine explosion at Marianna, Pa. Engineer and General Superintendent A.C. Beeson tells the local newspaper he had been in the mine a few minutes before the blast and had found it to be in perfect condition - 1908

Some 400 New York City photoengravers working for the city’s newspapers, supported by 20,000 other newspaper unionists, begin what is to become an 11-day strike, shutting down the papers - 1953

November 29
Clerks, teamsters and building service workers at Boston Stores in Milwaukee strike at the beginning of the Christmas rush. The strike won widespread support—at one point 10,000 pickets jammed the sidewalks around the main store—but ultimately was lost. Workers returned to the job in mid-January with a small pay raise and no union recognition - 1934

The SS Daniel J. Morrell, a 603-foot freighter, breaks in two during a strong storm on Lake Huron. Twenty-eight of its 29 crewmen died; survivor Daniel Hale was found the next day, near frozen and floating in a life raft with the bodies of three of his crewmates. He had survived for nearly 40 hours in frigid temperatures wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, a lifejacket, and a pea coat - 1966

National Labor Relations Board rules that medical interns can unionize and negotiate wages and hours - 1999

November 30 2014.11.24history-fighting.mary.mcdowell2
“Fighting Mary” Eliza McDowell, also known as the “Angel of the Stockyards,” born in Chicago. As a social worker she helped organize the first women’s local of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union in 1902 - 1854

Mother Jones died at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md.; “I’m not a lady, I’m a hell-raiser!” - 1930
(Her rallying cry was famous: "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living." A century ago, Mother Jones was a celebrated organizer and agitator, the very soul of the modern American labor movement. At coal strikes, steel strikes, railroad, textile, and brewery strikes, Mother Jones was always there, stirring the workers to action and enraging the powerful. In Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America, Elliott J. Gorn proves why, in the words of Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones "has won her way into the hearts of the nation's toilers, and... will be lovingly remembered by their children and their children's children forever.")

More than 12,000 members of the Insurance Agents Union strike in 35 states and Washington, D.C., against the Prudential Insurance Co. - 1951

Unionists and activists shut down World Trade Organization meeting, Seattle, Wash. - 1999