This Week in Labor History: 8/27 - 9/2

labor history

MLK delivered his "I have a dream" speech in D.C. and is endorsed by many affiliate unions. The National Association of Letter Carriers unanimously agrees on a new resolution. Between 1880 and 2003 we also witness historic victories for dancers, flight attendants, miners, and craft workers. Have you checked in with your Union lately? If you are seeking advice or inspiration subscribe to our Steward Update for monthly empowerment.

 

August 27th


1934 

Some 14,000 Chicago teachers who have gone without pay for several months finally collect about $1,400 each.

1950

President Truman orders the U.S. Army to seize all the nation's railroads to prevent a general strike.  The railroads were not returned to their owners until two years later.

August 28th


1963

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—the Martin Luther King Jr. "I Have A Dream" speech march-is held in Washington, D.C., with 250,000 participating.  AFL-CIO didn't endorse the march, but several affiliated unions did. 

( Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington: written for 5-8 year olds, is a very nice introduction to Martin Luther King Jr., and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, that watershed event in the fight for civil rights. It uses the March as a point of reference as it talks about segregeation in America and the battle for equal rights.)

August 29th


1889 

Sixty letter carriers from 18 states meet in a room above Schaefer's Saloon on Plankinton Avenue in Milwaukee. They unanimously adopt a resolution to form a National Association of Letter Carriers

1907

Seventy-five workers die when the lower St. Lawrence River’s Quebec Bridge collapses while under construction.  A flawed design was found to be the cause.  Thirteen more workers were killed nine years later when the reconstructed bridge’s central span was being raised and fell into the river because of a problem with hoisting devices

1996 

Dancers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Club vote 57-15 to be represented by SEIU Local 790. Their first union contract, ratified eight months later, guaranteed work shifts, protection against arbitrary discipline and termination, automatic hourly wage increases, sick days, a grievance procedure, and removal of one-way mirrors from peep show booths.

1998 

Northwest Airlines pilots, after years of concessions to help the airline, begin what is to become a 2-week strike for higher pay.

2000

Delegates to the  Minnesota AFL-CIO convention approve the launching of workdayminnesota.org. It was the first web-based daily labor news service by a state labor federation.

August 29th


1834 

Delegates from several East Coast cities meet in convention to form the National Trades' Union, uniting craft unions to oppose "the most unequal and unjustifiable distribution of the wealth of society in the hands of a few individuals."  The union faded after a few years.

1935

President Franklin Roosevelt's Wealth Tax Act increases taxes on rich citizens and big business, lowers taxes for small businesses


1996

OSHA publishes scaffold safety standard, designed to protect 2.3 million 

construction workers and  prevent 50 deaths and 4,500 injuries annually

August 31st


1919

John Reed forms the Communist Labor Party in Chicago.  The Party’s motto: 

"Workers of the world, unite!" 

1921

Some 10,000 striking miners began a fight at Blair Mountain, W.Va., for recognition of their union, the United Mine Workers of America. Federal troops were sent in and miners were forced to withdraw five days later, after 16 deaths.

1929 

The Trade Union Unity League is founded as an alternative to the American Federation of Labor, with the goal of organizing along industrial rather than craft lines. An arm of the American Communist Party, the League claimed 125,000 members before it dissolved in the late 1930s

1935

"Solidarity" workers movement founded as a strike coordination committee at Lenin Shipyards, Gdansk, Poland. The strike launched a wave of unrest in the Soviet Union that ultimately led to its dissolution in 199.

1991 

An estimated 325,000 unionists gathered in Washington, D.C., for a Solidarity Day march and rally for workplace fairness and healthcare reform.

1999

Detroit teachers begin what is to become a 9-day strike, winning smaller class sizes and raises of up to 4 percent.

September 1st


1893

The Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers is founded at a meeting in Chicago, the product of two separate brotherhoods created over the previous 13 years.

1894

Congress declares Labor Day a National Holiday! 

(From the Folks Who Brough You The Weekend is a sweeping, highly readable history of U.S. Labor that will be welcomed by anyone interested in learning more about the struggle of American working people to better their lives through collective action.)

1903

Some 30,000 women from 26 trades marched in Chicago's Labor Day parade.

1907

Walter Reuther is born. He went on to become a founder of the United Auto Workers and was president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations when it merged with the AFL in 1955

1946

In Hawaii, some 26,000 sugar workers represented by the Longshoremen’s union begin what is to become a successful 79-day strike that shuts down 33 of the 34 sugar plantations on the islands. The strike brought an end to Hawaii's paternalistic labor relations and impacted political and social institutions throughout the then-territory.

1956

Int'l Metal Engravers & Marking Device Workers Union changed its name to Int’l Association of Machinists.

1960

Some 20,000 Pennsylvania Railroad shop workers effectively halt operations in 13 states for 12 days. It was the first shutdown in the company's 114-year history.

1977

Boot and Shoe Workers' Union merged with Retail Clerks International Union.

1982

The Journeymen Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists' Int'l Union of America merged with United Food & Commercial Workers.

1982

Glass Bottle Blowers' Association of the United States & Canada merged with Int'l Brotherhood of Pottery & Allied Workers to become Glass, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers

1987

Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees changed name to Transportation-Communications Union

1997

The federal minimum wage is increased to $5.15 per hour

1992

Coopers Int’l Union of North America merged with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Int'l Union 

2003

The AFL-CIO creates Working America, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization designed to build alliances among non-union working people

September 1st


1885

White and Chinese immigrants battle in Rock Springs, Wyo., fueled by racial tensions and the practice of Union Pacific Railroad of hiring lower-paid Chinese over Whites. At least 25 Chinese died and 15 more were injured. Rioters burned 75 Chinese homes.

1916

Operating railway employees win 8-hour day

1921

Mineowners bomb West Virginia strikers by plane, using homemade bombs filled with nails and metal fragments. The bombs missed their targets or failed to explode

1954

President Eisenhower signs legislation expanding Social Security by providing much wider coverage and including 10 million additional Americans, most of them self-employed farmers, with additional benefits

1974

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed by President Ford, regulating and insuring pensions and other benefits, and increasing protections for workers

(Retire Happy: What to do NOW to guarantee a happy retirement) Everyone who works for a living thinks at some point about retirement, but few actually consider what that really means, other than escaping the daily grind. For sure, most of us worry about having enough money, and this highly readable book provides a lot of information and advice on the subject: how much we’ll need, how to make the most of what we’ve accumulated, how to accumulate more (even as we get close to retirement) and how to make it last. For that advice alone, Retire Happy is worth the price.

 


Newer Post